Tokoiti School

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Findings

Tokoiti School has effectively addressed its priorities for improvement. The trustees, principal and teachers are working together to ensure positive outcomes for students. The school is establishing useful school-wide and classroom planning practices. Key school practices are improvement focused, and likely to sustain and improve student progress and achievement. 

The school has made sufficient progress to transition into ERO’s Evaluation for Improvement process. 

1 Background and Context

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

Tokoiti School is a small rural school located near the town of Milton, South Otago. It caters for learners from Years 1 to 6. There are ­­­­­31 students at the school, 22% of the students identify as Māori.  

This report outlines Tokoiti School’s progress in addressing the areas for review and development identified in ERO’s 2019 Education Review report. The board of trustees, leaders and teachers focused initially on ensuring assessment information about students’ progress and achievement was reliable and used effectively. The school has been supported by a Ministry of Education Student Achievement Facilitator. The board has a mix of new and experienced trustees. 

Since the 2019 ERO report changes have been made to the teaching team and classrooms have been considerably refurbished. During 2020 and 2021 teaching staff participated in literacy professional development.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The 2019 ERO report identified that the school needed to strengthen the following areas:  

  • setting of school targets
  • awareness of student progress in achievement
  • te ao Māori in class programmes
  • annual and strategic planning
  • internal evaluation
  • aspects of compliance.
Progress

The principal, teachers and trustees have made very good progress in addressing the areas for review and development identified in ERO’s 2019 report. The school has an increased focus on ensuring all students progress and achieve well.

Since 2019, more students are now achieving at or above expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics. The school has focused on accelerating the achievement of students at risk of not achieving in writing. In 2020, all students targeted to make accelerated progress in their writing achievement did so. The school’s data for 2021 shows that most students are achieving at or beyond expectations.

Planning for schoolwide improvement is now cohesive and aligned. The principal is demonstrating stronger professional leadership within the school. The school’s charter and strategic plan reflects the current priorities. The annual plan gives useful detail to support the achievement of strategic goals. The annual plan includes achievement targets that are inclusive of all students identified as needing to accelerate their learning progress.

The principal and teachers are now implementing more robust practices to know about students’ learning and progress and how they can better respond to identified needs. They have developed more effective processes for collecting, sorting and analysing student achievement information. The increased use of learning information has resulted in:

  • the principal having an increased awareness of what needs to be focused on
  • more deliberate teaching and learning programmes
  • greater awareness of the amount of progress all students are making
  • the board of trustees receiving more informative and useful student achievement and progress reports.

Over time, ERO has observed students well engaged in their learning. Their learning tasks are relevant to their needs. Students are aware of what they are learning. Teaching is deliberate and focused.

The principal and teachers have continued to strengthen and embed tikanga Māori in day-to-day class programmes and school practices. There is daily karakia and waiata, and visitors are welcomed. Teachers have an increased awareness of concepts valued by Māori. They are incorporating these into their teaching practices. They continue to build caring relationships with parents and whānau.

The school has appropriately improved aspects of compliance. The principal and board have: 

  • updated the appraisal procedures to include all requirements
  • improved practices to ensure Risk Analysis Management documents are easily retrieved
  • reviewed the complaints procedure.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school implements effective processes and practices to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance.  

The principal, teachers and trustees are improvement focused. They are increasingly using useful processes to reflect on and improve their teaching practices, class and school programmes. ERO has seen examples of good reflective practice leading to improved learning programmes. 

There is useful evaluation provided to the board informing trustees about the progress being made toward achieving the school’s strategic goals, in particular the board’s target to lift achievement levels. Reports to the board include what the analysis of data is indicating, investigating alternative approaches and monitoring the impact of programmes and interventions.

Key next step

The principal and board of trustees have identified, and ERO agrees, that the school continues to strengthen internal evaluation for improvement processes to know about the impact of teaching programmes and identify what needs adjusting.

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

Tokoiti School has effectively addressed its priorities for improvement. The trustees, principal and teachers are working together to ensure positive outcomes for students. The school is establishing useful school-wide and classroom planning practices. Key school practices are improvement focused, and likely to sustain and improve student progress and achievement. 

The school has made sufficient progress to transition into ERO’s Evaluation for Improvement process. 

Dr Lesley Patterson
Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)
Southern Region - Te Tai Tini

14 December 2021

About the school

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

School Context

Tokoiti School is a small rural school located near the township of Milton, South Otago for students from Years 1 to 6. There are 32 students on the roll, eight of whom identify as Māori. Students learn in two multilevel classes.

The school’s vision and strategic priorities are underpinned by a set of Tokoiti ‘Trekker’ values: whakawhitinaki |trust, whakaute |respect, hiranga |excellence, manaakitanga |kindness, whanaungatanga |kinship, taiao |environment, haepapa |responsibility, and kia tau |self control.

The vision for Tokoiti School is that students will be ‘equipped with the qualities of confidence and motivation, and skills in relationship building, problem solving and risk taking’. It also states ‘Trekkers will also have academic success to allow them to be responsible, thoughtful and respectful citizens who are proactive lifelong learners’.

The strategic aims are for all students to:

  • receive a full and balanced education respecting individual needs and abilities

  • be able to achieve and progress in their learning through effective relationships

  • awhi |welcome and encourage whānau and community in the life of the school

  • recognise the unique position of Māori culture within Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in achievement in reading, writing and mathematics.

Tokoiti School is an active member of the Tokomairiro Kāhui Ako|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 working towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all of its students.

School information about overall achievement shows that over two thirds of students are achieving at or above the school’s expectations in reading and mathematics, and a small majority of students are achieving this in writing.

While the large majority of students are achieving, from 2016 to 2018, there has been an overall downward trend in achievement in reading and writing.

School information shows that there is disparity for Māori students and boys in reading, writing and mathematics. This disparity has been ongoing and is still to be effectively addressed.

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

The school has had limited success in accelerating the learning of those students whom they have identified, need this.

The school is yet to accelerate written language learning, for those Māori students whose progress needs to be accelerated.

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?

The school’s welcoming family-like school environment supports children’s learning. They have opportunities to live and enact the ‘Trekker values’ in a caring and inclusive setting. Older children support younger children in play and in their learning. The principal’s and teachers’ holistic view of their learners is informed by knowing the children and their families very well. Each child’s progress is tracked.

Tokoiti School’s planned curriculum is flexible and adaptive to children’s interests, allowing teachers to respond to unexpected opportunities to learn. This includes an increased incorporation of tikanga Māori.

The principal and teachers have useful curriculum guidelines. They have clear statements about effective teaching practice and learning progressions. The school has a collaborative teaching team, which includes experienced teacher aides, who collectively support children’s wellbeing and learning.

Students, the principal and teachers have benefitted from the school’s active involvement in the Kāhui Ako. The positive impact on children’s learning has been through relevant professional development and learning, expert teachers in classes, between school moderation, and tools and improved transitions into and out of the school.

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

The school has targets to raise the achievement of learners. These targets need to be reworked so that they will drive equity and excellence for all students, and be supported by specific planning to achieve these. The principal and board need to develop targets which focus on all those children who need to accelerate their learning. This will enable the principal to analyse and report to the board on rates and sufficiency of children’s progress, especially those children targeted for acceleration of their learning.

The school’s strategic and annual planning needs to better reflect the present school priorities. This should be supported by useful action planning which contains measurable outcomes. Evaluating progress towards meeting these priorities will facilitate future decision making.

Internal evaluation should be strengthened. This will help the board, principal and teachers to better know what is working and what is not, and to measure the impact and effectiveness of initiatives and interventions across all areas of the school.

The school leaders and board have identified, and ERO’s evaluation confirms, that the school needs to continue to strengthen and embed te ao Māori in day-to-day classroom programmes.

This review found that Tokoiti School has yet to address the majority of the recommendations from the 2016 Education Review report.

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 Tokoiti 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 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:

  • strong relational trust at all levels and between the school and its community that provides a family-like environment for students
  • a localised curriculum that is flexible and responsive to learning opportunities for students.

Next steps

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

  • the redevelopment of school targets so that they are inclusive of all students who need to make accelerated progress

  • analysing, reporting and evaluating the sufficiency of progress students are making, including those targeted for acceleration in their learning

  • reviewing annual and strategic planning to ensure coherence and reflection of the school’s current priorities and valued outcomes for students

  • strengthening internal evaluation to know the effectiveness of initiatives and interventions in all areas of the school

  • continuing to strengthen and embed te ao Māori in day-to-day classroom programmes.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • update its appraisal procedure to reflect the current expectations of the Teaching Standards
  • ensure that Risk Assessment Management documents for Education Outside the Classroom are stored in an easily retrievable way
  • review the complaints procedure to support usability.

Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

19 July 2019

About the school

Location

Milton

Ministry of Education profile number

3845

School type

Contributing Primary (Years 1-6)

School roll

32

Gender composition

Boys 17, Girls 15

Ethnic composition

Māori 8

NZ European/Pākehā 19

Other ethnicities 5

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

No

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

May 2019

Date of this report

19 July 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review February 2016

Education Review November 2012

Education Review June 2009