Taitoko School

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Findings

The school has improved its capacity to sustain, improve and review its performance. Significant progress has occurred since the 2019 ERO report. School leaders have developed and implemented useful processes and strategies to build teacher capability. Collaboration and building consistency in teaching practice are promoting positive conditions for learning and improved outcomes for students. Curriculum development continues to be an on-going focus for the school.

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Taitoko School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

1 Background and Context

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

Taitoko School, located in Levin, caters for students in Years 1 to 8. The current roll is 227 of whom 125 identify as Māori and 66 as Pacific.

The school’s vision aspires to produce ‘cultural, creative, connected learners’.

The February 2019 ERO report identified significant areas for improvement. Over the past eighteen months the school has participated in an ERO evaluation process to support improvement. During this time trustees, leaders and staff have accessed appropriate external professional learning and development (PLD) to support them in their roles and practice.

This ERO report evaluates the progress made and how well placed the school now 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 following aspects of school operation required improvement:

  • ongoing review and development of the school’s curriculum

  • further development of professional capability of trustees, leaders and teachers

  • review and further development of assessment processes and practice

  • better use of evaluation and inquiry to fully understand the impact of strategies and programmes in relation to achieving equity and excellence for students

  • the regular review and development of policies and procedures to align with current legislation and guidance.

Progress

Leaders and teachers have developed appropriate processes to track and monitor student progress and achievement. Students at risk of underachievement are clearly identified. School reported mid-year 2020 data indicates that most students are achieving at or above expectation in reading, writing and mathematics. Māori and Pacific students achieve at similar levels to their peers. The data shows a positive shift in the numbers of students progressing from well below to below, and below to at expectations.

School leaders have developed a localised curriculum aligned to the school’s values, local context and priorities. This has been established in collaboration with students, staff and whānau. Clear expectations guide teaching and learning. Teachers know their students and whānau well and value their language and culture. They use deliberate strategies to engage students in learning. Environments support instruction and students to work in groups and independently. Curriculum development continues to be an on-going focus for the school. The principal has identified that embedding programmes with an emphasis on students knowing about their learning is a next step.

School leaders have developed and implemented useful processes and strategies to build teacher capability. Ongoing PLD supports leaders and teachers to implement a range of programmes and strategies to accelerate progress for students. Staff work collaboratively in teams to promote student well-being, share effective practice, monitor progress and moderate teacher judgements. School frameworks have been established to guide internal evaluation. Team and senior leadership inquiries are evidence-based and improvement focused.

The board is well informed about student achievement, school operation and ongoing developments. Trustees are actively involved in the review of policies and procedures. They have moved to an online portfolio and are following the review cycle. Policies and procedures are robust and align with the school’s operation and practices.

Key next steps

ERO and school leaders agree that key next steps for the school are to:

  • continue to develop and embed the local curriculum

  • extend and implement learning from PLD

  • continue to build capability of trustees to further develop their understanding of roles, responsibilities and legislative obligations.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school has improved its capacity to sustain, improve and review its performance.

The principal has led a considered and strategic approach to address the areas for development identified in the 2018 ERO report. Collaboration and building consistency of teaching practice are promoting positive conditions for learning and improved outcomes for students.

Leaders and teachers continue to engage in PLD that is focused on building pedagogical leadership and capability across the school. This is resulting in a more targeted response to raising student achievement, particularly in writing.

The school has developed useful frameworks for internal evaluation. Leaders and teachers continue to deepen their understanding to enable them to more clearly identify the impact of new and ongoing developments on outcomes for students.

School leaders and ERO agree a next step is to use internal evaluation processes to:

  • determine the impact and effectiveness of innovations, initiatives and teaching approaches on improved learning and wellbeing outcomes for all students

  • inform changes for improvement.

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.

Conclusion

The school has improved its capacity to sustain, improve and review its performance. Significant progress has occurred since the 2019 ERO report. School leaders have developed and implemented useful processes and strategies to build teacher capability. Collaboration and building consistency in teaching practice are promoting positive conditions for learning and improved outcomes for students. Curriculum development continues to be an on-going focus for the school.

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Taitoko 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.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)

Central Region - Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

29 January 2021

About the school

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

School Context

Taitoko School is situated in Levin, Horowhenua. The school has students in Years 1 to 8. The roll of 217 students includes 53% who identify as Māori and 31% of Pacific heritage.

The vision seeks to promote cultural, creative and connected learners.

Achievement targets for 2018 are focused on raising the overall percentage of students achieving at expectations in reading, writing and mathematics.   

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

  • achievement and progress in reading, writing and mathematics
  • outcomes in relation to Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L)
  • student wellbeing
  • attendance.

The February 2016 ERO report identified that raising student achievement was a priority. To strengthen student outcomes ERO identified required improvements in targeting, tracking and evaluating achievement. Although some changes have occurred, these practices are yet to impact sufficiently on improved levels of achievement.     

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 does not consistently address the needs of learners to achieve equity and excellence for all its students.   

At the end of 2017, approximately 60% of learners met achievement expectations in reading and mathematics. Māori students achieved lower outcomes than Pākehā, with Pacific learners below in mathematics and reading. Achievement in writing was below 50%, with boys persistently below the achievement of girls. At the end of 2018 achievement is tracking slightly above previous years.  

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

Leaders and teachers need to develop practices and processes to increase the school’s collective capability to accelerate the learning and achievement of students.

Analysis of data by leaders in 2018, identified that teaching was insufficient to progress learning and for children to maintain a positive trajectory in their achievement, especially in junior reading. In response they initiated targeted actions to strengthen achievement. In the second half of 2018, generally, students targeted are showing an improved trajectory in their progress. However, further acceleration is required to ensure many of these students reach achievement expectations.

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?

Leaders and trustees articulate a shared vision for student success. Strategically planned goals recognise further improvement is required to better support equitable and excellent outcomes for students. 

Students with complex learning needs have appropriate access to additional support. Individual education plans identify goals that are specific to promote student learning and engagement. Resourcing provides additional personnel to support student participation at school. Extensive interagency partnerships are accessed to address the specialised needs of these learners. Transition to school is well planned and inclusive of students, parents and whānau. 

Staff and trustees encourage the purposeful inclusion of students, whānau and families. The use of the programme PB4L fosters shared values and expectations that are evident in practice. Teachers promote a positive tone and climate in classrooms. Student wellbeing information shows students feel a sense of belonging. Leaders and teachers develop positive relationships with students, parents and community. Gathered information from Māori whānau and Pacific families is appropriately used to respond to their curriculum and cultural aspirations.   

Collaborative discussion between teachers is beginning to encourage greater sharing of strategies to better meet the needs of learners. Involvement in professional learning and development aligns to achievement priorities. Curriculum leaders have provided observational feedback for teachers to support improved practice.

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

Increased professional capability and capacity of leaders, teachers and for trustees in stewardship is required to consistently improve student achievement. Assessment processes and practice require improvement to ensure a comprehensive response to addressing student learning. Leaders should revise annual achievement targets and align these to students requiring their achievement accelerated. Building teacher knowledge of learning progressions should ensure teaching better matches learning.

Leaders identify that the school curriculum requires review. Staff should explore and develop a shared understanding of effective teaching and learning. This should collectively establish the strategies, skills and practices expected to purposefully engage students in learning.   

Evaluation and inquiry processes require strengthening to better understand the impact of actions and practices undertaken to improve student achievement. Building capability to robustly evaluate effectiveness should ensure school personnel better understand the value of the actions undertaken to achieve the school’s vision for student success.  

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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • undertake regular review and development of policies and procedures to align with current legislation and guidance. 

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • appropriate care and inclusion of students with identified complex needs
  • an environment that values and promotes the participation of parents, families and whānau
  • increasingly collaborative practice between leaders, teachers and trustees.

Next steps

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

  • ongoing review and development of the school’s curriculum
  • further development of professional capability for trustees, leaders and teachers
  • review and further development of assessment processes and practice
  • better use of evaluation and inquiry to fully understand the impact of strategies and programmes in relation to achieving equity and excellence for students.

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.

Phil Cowie
Director Review and Improvement Services
Central Region

15 February 2019

About the school 

Location

Levin

Ministry of Education profile number

3032

School type

Full Primary Years 1 to 8

School roll

217

Gender composition

Male 56%, Female 44%

Ethnic composition

Māori                                 53%
Pacific                                31%
Pākehā                              16%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

15 February 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review         February 2016
Education Review         December 2012
Education Review         November 2010