Lake Tekapo School

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Education institution number:
3406
School type:
Contributing
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
33
Telephone:
Address:

Aorangi Crescent, Lake Tekapo

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School Context

Lake Tekapo School is a rural school in the Mackenzie District of South Canterbury. It provides education for children in Years 1 to 6. The school has a roll of 35 children from a range of cultures.

The school’s mission is ‘Empowering a community of learners’, supported by a vision which aligns closely to the local landscape: ‘May our goals take us as high as the mountains, our learning as deep as the lake, and our knowledge shine through the night sky’. The overarching value of Tangata Whenuatanga (our place) supports the key competencies and further values of Ako (thinking), Whanaungatanga (relating and participating), Manaakitanga (managing self) and Wananga (language). Woven through all of these aspects is the icon of the Mackenzie Country dog which has been used as a symbol throughout the school to illustrate positive character traits and an approach to inquiry practice.

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

  • school wide student achievement data on reading, writing and mathematics.

Since the last ERO review (2015) the school has made good progress in the following:

  • localising the curriculum

  • digital fluency

  • integrating bicultural practices, including success for Māori students

  • understanding the relevance of data and tracking student progress.

The school’s 2019 goals include a focus on transition to school, staff professional learning and development towards effective practice, and specific achievement targets which align teaching and learning with the school’s vision.

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

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 making progress towards all children achieving equitable and excellent outcomes.

Most children achieve well in reading, writing and mathematics over time. The school monitors achievement and bases annual targets on identified areas requiring improved outcomes for children.

An inclusive environment fosters a strong sense of place and belonging for all children. They are supported in their learning and feel safe, emotionally and physically.

Much of the learning is driven by key competencies and children are able to relate these to progress in learning and wellbeing.

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

School data shows that the majority of children make accelerated progress. The data, however, needs to be refined to ensure that sufficiency of progress can be clearly ascertained.

Children whose learning needs to be accelerated are identified and closely monitored. They receive a range of targeted and well-documented interventions.

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?

Children are engaged and enthusiastic about their learning. Good use is made of the local environment, and teachers tailor the curriculum to provide meaningful contexts that centre on the landscape, its history and the stories that surround it.

The key competencies and school’s values run throughout all teaching and learning. Children know the values and key competencies well and use them to support self-management skills, regulate their own behaviour and make positive choices about their learning. Children are regularly affirmed and celebrated for their progress, achievements and participation, and for upholding the school’s vision and values.

The school’s positive and student-centred approach provides opportunities for authentic and bicultural practices that reflect the language, culture and identity of the children. Staff know the children well and are responsive to their needs and interests. The establishment of an effective transition-to-school programme enables children new to the school to feel confident and quickly establish routines that support their learning.

Well-developed community relationships provide opportunities for the school to act as a learning hub. The curriculum demonstrates the school’s commitment to active Treaty of Waitangi partnership, and relate directly to authentic local opportunities for all children. External professional expertise supports the staff in building capabilities to improve outcomes for children. There are opportunities for teachers to reflect on their teaching practices.

The improvement-focused board, leadership and staff are committed to the school’s vision, values and outcomes for children’s learning and wellbeing. The alignment of all documents and communications reinforces the culture, vision and values of the school. The staff demonstrate high levels of collaborative practice and relational trust.

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

Trustees, leaders and teachers need to:

  • improve the analysis and reporting of learning information to know about the sufficiency of progress of all children, particularly those targeted for acceleration

  • develop robust moderation practices to ensure the credibility of data

  • evaluate survey data and identify appropriate action plans

  • ensure a well-managed approach to change leadership and clear communication to support learning and teaching initiatives

  • ensure a shared understanding between ideas for improvement and desired outcomes, by creating a time-framed plan with clear achievable actions

  • enact rigorous evaluation practices to track the effectiveness of programmes and initiatives.

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.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Lake Tekapo School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO recommends that:

  • the Ministry of Education work with the school to provide support and guidance around the strategic use of data

  • the principal receives the opportunity to engage a mentor, with a particular emphasis on enhancing the skills of strategic planning and leading change

  • the board undertake professional learning in order to further develop their stewardship capacity

  • the board create a time-framed action plan of how they will address the next steps in this report.

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

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a well-established school culture that promotes engagement and enthusiasm for learning

  • positive community-wide engagement which supports improved outcomes for children

  • an improvement-focused leader, board and staff.

Next steps

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

  • creating systems to ensure a rigorous, comprehensive and well-used process for internal evaluation

  • refining systems for processing, moderating and reporting on achievement information, by creating appropriate action plans and managing change at a school-wide level

  • planning for actions and implementing initiatives with clear outcomes for learners.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to:

  • training for and supporting staff regarding physical restraint if required
    Education Act 1989

  • the need for a comprehensive hazards register and analysis of incidents

  • reporting health and safety matters on a regular basis
    Health and Safety At Work Act 2015

  • police vetting. At the time of this review the school was not police vetting parent volunteers
    Education Act 1989.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • carry out a staff wellbeing survey

  • improve processes regarding in-committee minutes.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

24 April 2019

About the school

Location

South Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

3406

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

35

Gender composition

Boys 20, Girls 15

Ethnic composition

Māori 1

NZ European/Pākehā 23

Asia: 8

Other ethnicities 3

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

No

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

February 2019

Date of this report

24 April 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review November 2015

Education Review May 2012

Findings

Lake Tekapo School is a small school with a family-like learning culture. Students benefit from a wide range of purposeful learning experiences that make the most of community facilities and the geographical area. The school is well led and governed by committed trustees and teachers. They use information well to make appropriate decisions about students’ progress, achievement and wellbeing.

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

1 Context

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

This school is a small school situated in the tourist town of Lake Tekapo. The school provides for students from Years 1 to 6, from the town and farm stations in the surrounding Mackenzie District. At the time of this review, many of the students attending the school were in the younger year groups and were organised into two classrooms. The school is affected by a level of transience.

There have been significant changes in staffing and board of trustee members since the 2012 ERO review. The current principal and the other teachers are fixed term and part time. The school has initiated the engagement of ongoing support from the Ministry of Education (MOE) to support current practices.

The trustees, principal and teachers provide a welcoming, family-like culture. This environment supports students’ learning and encourages parents to be involved in school activities. There are strong links with the community which is very supportive of the school.

The isolated nature of the school is seen by the trustees and staff as a challenge and a strength. For example, while small cohorts make competitive team sports difficult, small class numbers also enable more one-to-one opportunities.

The school has met most recommendations from the 2012 ERO review, including strengthened strategic planning and self-review practices. This planning has provided greater direction for raising student achievement and curriculum review. The teachers are working on ways students can take more responsibility for managing their own learning.

2 Learning

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

The board and teachers are making increasingly good use of achievement information to make appropriate decisions about students’ engagement and wellbeing.

The school’s 2014 National Standards information reflects positive trends in improvement across the school. Achievement is highest in mathematics where many students are achieving well above the National Standards. A continual focus is still needed to raise the achievement of some boys’ reading and writing.

The teachers have high expectations for students’ engagement and achievement. Recent changes in teaching practices have supported students’ readiness and enthusiasm for learning.

Teachers work hard to know students as learners. They take time to discuss what is working well, and ways to improve students’ progress and achievement. They have increased communication with parents about student learning. This has helped to improve students’ enthusiasm for school and supported teachers to gain a wider perspective on how best to support learning.

Students who find learning challenging are effectively supported by a specialist teacher.

Areas for review and development

Teachers are using a range of assessment information from across the curriculum. They should continue to develop assessment practices by:

  • extending information reported to parents to include how parents can help at home, particularly in writing
  • developing more opportunities for students to evaluate their learning
  • developing more consistent moderation of teacher judgement across the National Standards
  • strengthening processes for teachers to evaluate how practices and programmes are contributing to raising student achievement.

The principal acknowledged that reports to the board need to include information on students who are well below, and below expectations for achieving the school’s achievement targets. This information will enable trustees to more carefully track progress towards achieving targets.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is relevant and is appropriately contributing to students’ learning.

Students benefit from a wide range of purposeful learning experiences that make the most of local community facilities and the geographical area. Teachers recognise the benefits of students making good connections with the local environment. They plan effectively to address the needs of students, including the high numbers of boys, through programmes that include physical activities and education outside the classroom.

Recent positive developments in curriculum include:

  • a shared understanding of the school values and skills for learning
  • further development of approaches to support transition to and from school
  • more opportunities for students to inquire and extend their interests and skills
  • thorough teacher planning across a range of learning areas.

The principal is well supported by teachers to lead curriculum development. They have developed develop useful processes for evaluating the learning programmes. This has enabled them to effectively review a number of learning areas including mathematics, health and a programme for gifted and talented learners.

Teachers work well together. They engage in regular discussion and reflect on how well they are meeting students’ needs and ways they can build their practice to benefit students’ learning and wellbeing. Students value their positive relationships with teachers.

Areas for review and development

The board has a strategic goal to improve the capability of students to reflect on their learning and the best ways to learn. ERO supports this strategic direction and has identified the need to increase the shift towards student-led learning.

Teachers are working to improve a number of different aspects of the school’s local curriculum. It is now timely to consider how these will link together to form a more coherent guiding document for teachers. This will include how the school will support students’ use of digital devices and resources to support learning.

While Māori is taught as a separate subject, the school has identified, and ERO agrees that this should be integrated across the curriculum.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

The school is working with the MOE and the parent community to develop its understanding of, and provision for Māori success as Māori. The board has prioritised this as a strategic goal. A joint teacher and parent group has developed a useful action plan and is steadily working towards meeting the set goals. This has included:

  • a marae stay
  • hearing te reo Māori used within the class setting
  • some bilingual signage.

The process the school is working through, with support, is appropriate and is likely to further promote a shared understanding of Māori success at this school.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to continue to sustain and improve its performance.

The board and staff are committed to improving outcomes for students. They have worked with external support to develop a useful charter, strategic and annual plans. Knowledgeable trustees and school leaders have identified priorities and are using these to guide the forward direction of the school.

Teachers are involved in a wide range of professional development that is supporting improvements to the curriculum and bicultural responsiveness. There are good opportunities for shared leadership and developing consistent understandings. This is promoting student learning and achievement.

There is an ongoing culture of critical reflection and a planned approach to self review at governance and curriculum levels.

Areas for review and development

ERO affirms the direction and use of external support to bring about change. The board’s next steps are to:

  • review how well recent initiatives have impacted on students’ learning and achievement
  • more strongly align the board’s reporting to the school’s charter and strategic direction.

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.

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO confirms that the process the school is working through, with support from the MOE is appropriate and is likely to:

  • enable the school to make good progress in achieving the board’s strategic goals
  • further promote a shared understanding of teaching and learning
  • build on recent curriculum initiatives that support modern learning practices.

Conclusion

Lake Tekapo School is a small school with a family-like learning culture. Students benefit from a wide range of purposeful learning experiences that make the most of community facilities and the geographical area. The school is well led and governed by committed trustees and teachers. They use information well to make appropriate decisions about students’ progress, achievement and wellbeing.

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

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

11 August 2015

About the School

Location

Lake Tekapo

Ministry of Education profile number

3406

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

31

Gender composition

Boys 21;

Girls 10

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Asian

4

24

3

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

11 August 2015

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2012

June 2009

March 2006