Natone Park School

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Education institution number:
2923
School type:
Contributing
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Bilingual Year 7 and Year 8 School
Total roll:
83
Telephone:
Address:

6 Kokiri Crescent, Waitangirua, Porirua

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Findings

Natone Park School has made some progress in creating a positive school culture, growing collegial relationships and working productively with whānau. Ongoing support is required for the school to respond to the areas identified in this report.

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO‘s overall evaluation judgement of Natone Park School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Needs development.

ERO will maintain an ongoing relationship with the school to build capacity and evaluate progress.

1 Background and Context

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

Natone Park School is located in Porirua and caters for students in Years 1 to 8. The current roll of 84 includes 55 students who identify as Māori; of the 26 of Pacific heritage, 21 are Samoan.

The December 2017 ERO report identified significant concerns about the school’s performance. A commissioner was appointed and continues to work with the school, alongside a whānau advisory group. Ongoing leadership changes have impacted on the school’s capacity to address area of concern. A new permanent principal has now been appointed and took up the role in February 2020.

The school is part of the Porirua East Kāhui Ako.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The 2017 ERO report identified the following priorities for review and development:

  • establishing a culturally responsive curriculum, supporting all students to have maximum opportunity to learn, progress and achieve

  • building effective teacher capability to promote and accelerate student learning, achievement and progress

  • raising student achievement

  • ensuring the school meets all legislative requirements

  • supporting the whānau advisory group to develop members’ understanding of the roles and responsibilities of school stewardship.

Progress

School achievement information for the end of 2019 shows that the majority of students are now reaching curriculum expectation for their year level in reading, writing and mathematics.

Some progress is evident in teacher capability to use student achievement data to plan teaching and learning programmes. Data is now used to identify target students and to track and monitor their progress. In addition, parents and whānau now receive useful information about their children’s learning and involvement in school activities.

The school’s local curriculum document outlines expectations, including broad guidelines for teaching and learning for all curriculum areas. Professional development and learning has been provided for teachers in mathematics, literacy, assessment and digital technologies.

Teachers use a range of strategies to promote students’ learning. Te reo Māori is regularly used in the delivery of programmes. Specialised programmes are provided to support students with additional and complex needs. However, there continues to be the need to ensure all students are being effectively supported to engage in purposeful learning.

The charter has been reviewed and an annual plan developed for 2020. As a result, priorities for future improvement are now clearly identified. A full policy review has been completed so that policies now more suitably reflect and guide school operation and practice. Appraisal processes for all teachers and the acting principal were completed in 2019.

The commissioner continues to work with the whānau advisory group and has accessed training to support their understanding of the governance role and obligations of trustees. As a result, members are now well informed about a range of aspects of operation and are purposefully involved in the life of the school.

Key next steps

Leaders and teachers need to continue to improve their understanding of the effective analysis and use of schoolwide achievement information. This should include:

  • enhanced reporting of trends and patterns in student achievement, attendance and wellbeing outcomes to better inform governance and leadership decision making

  • greater use of standardised tools to strengthen the dependability of overall assessment judgements

  • reporting clearly to parents and whānau information about children’s achievement and progress in relation to The New Zealand Curriculum expectations.

There is a need to continue to build teachers’ capability and understanding of quality practice to promote positive learning and wellbeing outcomes for students. Aspects to address are:

  • reviewing and aligning schoolwide targets to ensure they focus on accelerating the progress and achievement for those students who need this

  • developing specific action plans for targeted students and regularly reviewing progress for their learning

  • continuing to improve the teaching as inquiry process to support teachers to respond more effectively to students’ learning needs and evaluate the effectiveness of teaching strategies

  • strengthening teacher appraisal processes to include an annual summary that clearly indicates the extent to which the Standards for the Teaching Profession are met and identify areas for improvement in teaching practice.

The review and refinement of the Natone Park School curriculum expectations and guidelines is needed to better support schoolwide engagement in learning. Aspects to address are:

  • documenting localised contexts for learning
  • developing assessment schedules and guidelines
  • establishing shared expectations about effective teaching practice
  • implementing a sequential approach to the teaching and use of te reo Māori across the curriculum
  • promoting success for Pacific students.

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 not well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Ongoing provision of professional support for effective governance, leadership and teacher capability is required.

The newly appointed principal has identified key priorities for ongoing improvement in the 2020 annual plan. Going forward, the principal’s appraisal goals need to clearly align to the priorities identified for improvement in this report.

Establishing an effectively performing, community-based board of trustees is necessary before consideration can be given to concluding external support.

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
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Children’s Act 2014.

In order to improve current practice, the principal and commissioner should ensure that:

  • information about student attendance, including trends and patterns, is analysed and regularly reported to governors

  • leaders and teachers improve their understanding of school policies and procedures and monitor the effective implementation schoolwide.

4 Recommendations

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

ERO recommends that the Secretary for Education continue the statutory intervention under Part 7A of the Education Act 1989 in order to bring about the establishment of an elected board of trustees.

ERO also recommends that the Ministry of Education provide ongoing specialist support for:

  • the new principal to target and address areas for development identified in this report
  • leaders and teachers to improve the effectiveness of their use of achievement information.

Conclusion

Natone Park School has made some progress in creating a positive school culture, growing collegial relationships and working productively with whānau. Ongoing support is required for the school to respond to the areas identified in this report.

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO‘s overall evaluation judgement of Natone Park School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Needs development.

ERO will maintain an ongoing relationship with the school to build capacity and evaluate progress.

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.

Darcy Te Hau

Acting Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)

Central Region - Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

18 June 2020

About the school

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.

School Context

Natone Park School, situated in Waitangirua, has 86 students in Years 1 to 8. Most students are of Māori or Pacific heritage.

The school is currently governed by a commissioner and led by an emergency staffing principal. Roll decline has resulted in some staffing changes. The school is in a period of rebuilding its culture and developing teaching and learning.

Professional Learning and Development (PLD) has focused on literacy, mathematics and digital literacy. Community input has been sought to define vision and values for the school’s charter. A strategic plan guides development. The school has recently restructured the provision of Level 2 immersion to establish Level 3 te reo Māori across the school in 2018.

The commissioner has received some information about students’ achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. Other valued outcomes expressed by the community are for students to be:

  • strong in their language, culture and identity
  • able to express their opinions and be heard
  • resilient, confident, risk takers who are digitally responsive
  • well prepared to meet their own and whānau aspirations.

The school is part of the Porirua East Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The principal reports that raising student achievement remains an urgent priority for the school. Data shows that most students are yet to achieve success in reading, writing and mathematics. 

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

Leaders and teachers are not yet responding effectively to students whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

The school culture is founded on te ao Māori principles, values and ways of being. Leaders and teachers are focused on developing a caring, collaborative learning community that is inclusive of all learners. This is beginning to promote a sense of belonging and connection to the school for children and their whānau. Students are developing confidence in their language, culture and identity.  

A whānau advisory group, formed as a way of gathering and using community views, is working with the commissioner and contributing positively to school decision making. Their input is valued by the principal and commissioner.

Relational trust and collaboration are developing among teachers. Team work is beginning to have a positive impact on ways teachers are sharing and building their practice. Teachers participate in PLD that provides a focus for improving their capability.

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

Considerable development is needed to promote more positive outcomes for students in this school.

Teachers have participated in PLD designed to improve their practice. Making change and adopting new practices is imperative to raising students’ achievement. Urgency and taking responsibility for improved learning outcomes are needed from staff.

Professional learning and development is supporting teachers to gather and make sense of some achievement information that is beginning to be used to group and adapt practice to meet needs. This early stage development is a crucial step in building teacher capability and should be given priority by leaders and teachers.

Leaders and teachers should focus on and relentlessly pursue one or two achievement goals until substantial gains in outcomes are realised. Aligning school processes to these goals is likely to contribute to a clarity of purpose and should assist in improving progress and achievement of students. Such alignment should include:

  • appraisal and professional development
  • individual and collaborative inquiry
  • assessment, analysis and reporting of student achievement information
  • developing learning partnerships with whānau. 

Considerable progress has been made in developing relationships and providing an environment where parents and whānau can trust and engage with the school. Further development is needed however, to establish reciprocal relationships with parents that focus on their children’s learning and achievement.

The whānau advisory group should be supported to continue to develop members’ understanding of the roles and responsibilities of school stewardship in order to be prepared to assist the commissioner in his governance role.

Aspects of appraisal have been undertaken. The commissioner and principal should ensure that all aspects of appraisal are completed for leaders and teacher annually.

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.

They were not able to attest 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

The commissioner should take urgent action to ensure the school can attest to meeting its legislative requirements, particularly those relating to health, safety and welfare of children and the delivery of the curriculum. 

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • an improving school culture that promotes trust and supports children’s wellbeing and a sense of belonging
  • a developing willingness of whānau to be more engaged with the school to support future direction
  • teachers’ preparedness to work together to improve practice to promote positive learning outcomes for all students.

Next steps

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

  • urgently raising student achievement through effective teaching practice to accelerate progress for all students
  • strong leadership to build the capability of teachers to deliberately respond to the learning needs of students
  • collecting and using dependable student progress and achievement information to assist robust decision making.

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Secretary for Education consider continuing intervention under Part 7A of the Education Act 1989 in order to bring about the improvement in:

  • raising student achievement through high quality leadership and effective teaching
  • meeting legislative requirements.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Patricia Davey
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

1 December 2017

About the school 

Location

Waitangirua

Ministry of Education profile number

2923

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 - 8)

School roll

86

Gender composition

Male 53, Female 33

Ethnic composition

Māori                                      57
Pacific                                     25
Other ethnic groups               4

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

October/November 2017

Date of this report

1 December 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review August 2011
Education Review June 2011
Supplementary Review June 2008