Tokanui School

We maintain a regular review programme to evaluate and report on the education and care of young people in schools.

We are in the process of shifting from event-based external reviews to supporting each school in a process of continuous improvement.

There may be delays between reviews for some schools and kura due to Covid-19 and while we transition to our new way of reviewing.

Read more about our new processes and why we changed the way we review schools and kura.

Find out which schools have upcoming reviews.

School Context

Tokanui School is a Years 1 to 8 school in Tokanui, Southern Southland. There are 110 children, 23 of whom identify as Māori.

The school’s mission statement is, ‘Empowering children through respect, integrity, community and excellence.’ The school values are:

  • respect – respect yourself, others and the environment

  • integrity – honest, responsible and someone who does the right thing

  • community – being a positive contributor to our school community and wider community

  • excellence – doing the best you can and celebrate achievement in others.

The school aims for children to know and show the Enviroschool principles including:

  • Māori perspectives

  • empowerment

  • learning for sustainability

  • sustainable communities.

Leaders and teachers regularly report school-wide information about outcomes for children to the board in the following areas:

  • reading, writing and mathematics

  • children’s wellbeing.

Since the last ERO review in 2014, there have been a number of staff changes and changes within the board.

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 school is yet to achieve equitable outcomes for different groups of children in literacy and mathematics. The school has identified there is significant disparity for boys in writing. The school has also identified significant disparity for Māori children in reading, writing and mathematics.

Overall student achievement for 2014 to 2016 shows:

  • most children have achieved at or above expectations for reading

  • a slight downward trend in children’s achievement in mathematics and writing.

In 2016, the majority of children were at or above expectations for writing and mathematics.

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

The school has had limited success in accelerating the progress of the students it had targeted to make this progress. A small number of children working below expected levels made accelerated progress.

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 has a strong inclusive culture. Teachers and leaders have an intentional focus on building positive learning relationships for all children and have an improved awareness of Māori culture and identity. Students are well engaged in their learning and show an understanding of their role in the learning process. They show good understanding of the school’s values.

Senior leaders are committed to providing equity of learning for children at risk of underachievement. This commitment is evident in student support programmes and relevant professional learning and development for teachers.

The school’s curriculum design is responsive to the aspirations of students, parents/whānau and the wider community. Parents and whānau are actively encouraged to participate in their child’s learning. The school proactively identifies and draws on community expertise and resources to enhance students’ learning opportunities, achievement and wellbeing.

Trustees have a good understanding of their governance role. They show a commitment to ongoing learning about this. They put children at the centre of their resourcing decisions.

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

To address the disparities in student achievement, school leaders need to improve the effectiveness of processes to lift achievement and associated target setting, action planning, evaluation and reporting.

The school needs to develop targets that specifically focus on those children who are at risk of underachievement. Targets and associated action plans to lift achievement need to be more specific. The board needs to receive more frequent and detailed reports that clearly show the sufficiency of progress for target students (and others as appropriate).

Internal evaluation needs to be extended in order to look more deeply at which teaching practices are most effective in lifting the achievement of targeted and other children. This includes ensuring that reviews are more evaluative. It is timely to extend internal evaluation to include how well the school’s valued outcomes for learning are achieved.

Leaders and teachers need to strengthen te ao Māori as part of children’s learning.

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 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • levels of student engagement and agency in their learning

  • the breadth, depth and richness of the curriculum

  • useful learning partnerships with parents/whānau and the wider community.

Next steps

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

  • urgently addressing in-school disparity in achievement in literacy and mathematics for Māori children, and in writing for boys

  • extending and strengthening understanding of internal evaluation to better evaluate what is working well and what can be improved

  • further integrating te ao Māori into the day-to-day curriculum so that all children experience a rich bicultural curriculum

  • improving school achievement targets and the frequency and quality of reports to the board about the sufficiency of progress targeted children are making.

The school needs to show:

  • targeted planning to accelerate learning [ERO will monitor and discuss progress with the school]

  • effective internal evaluation processes and practices

[ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders].

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

21 February 2018

About the school

Location

Southland

Ministry of Education profile number

4030

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

110

Gender composition

Girls: 47% Boys: 53%

Ethnic composition

Māori: 21% Pākeha: 79%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

December 2017

Date of this report

21 February 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review: 15 September 2014
Education Review: 22 August 2011

Findings

Students enjoy the benefits of strong support from the parent and local rural community. Local businesses and geographic features are used effectively by teachers as rich contexts for learning. Historically Tokanui students achieve well, particularly in reading and writing. Students who need extra support to succeed are very well supported and make accelerated progress. The principal and board lead and govern the school well.

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?

Students at Tokanui School enjoy the benefits of strong support provided by parents and the local rural community. The community provides financial help, sports coaching and student-learning support, especially in mathematics.

The school is in an isolated area of Southland with 86% of students travelling by bus to attend. The teachers and willing parents ensure that students’ education is not limited by this isolation. The spacious outside area provides students with a wide range of opportunities to challenge and extend their physical learning and play.

A new principal, deputy principal and teacher have been appointed since the 2011 ERO review. The school has a growing roll. The number of Māori students has also increased.

The nearby playcentre and school have close links. Senior students work with preschoolers on a regular basis and a transition programme prepares the way for children to move onto school.

Since the August 2011 review, the school has successfully improved aspects of assessment which were identified by ERO as needing to be reviewed. These aspects were:

  • building consistent assessment practices
  • monitoring the progress of students who are receiving extra help with their learning.

2 Learning

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

Historically, students at this school have achieved well in comparison with national expectations. The principal and board have identified the need to raise student achievement in some areas. School assessment information shows that students still achieve highly in reading and written language in relation to the National Standards. While overall achievement in mathematics is not quite as high as in the past, it is still on a par with other schools in Southland.

Findings

The principal, teachers and trustees use achievement information effectively. They set meaningful achievement targets that focus on accelerating the progress of specific cohorts of students.

Various strategies are used to support students who are at risk of not achieving to expectations. These strategies could be further strengthened by involving parents even more in discussions about how their child’s learning can best be supported, especially in mathematics.

Students who need an extra boost to catch up to their peers are placed in a special support programme. This is a very positive experience for students and accelerated progress is evident and tracked. The board is well informed about the programme and the impact it has on student progress and achievement.

The board is well informed about overall student progress and achievement. The principal’s reports to the board are well analysed and contain detailed information about groups of students (year levels, ethnicity and gender), and what teachers are doing to address identified issues.

Students’ reports are in plain language and clearly show parents where their child is at in reading, writing and mathematics, in relation to the National Standards.

Areas for review and development

Achievement information shared with the board could more clearly show how students who are being closely monitored are progressing at midyear. This would keep trustees better informed about the progress these students are making and the effectiveness of support programmes and classroom teaching and learning.

The principal has identified, and ERO agrees, that a strategic direction for the school is for students’ learning to become more self directed. Teachers could enable this by consistently providing students with specific written feedback about their learning. Students could also have a greater understanding of their achievement and involvement in their learning, such as contributing to decisions about their next learning steps.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports students’ learning through interesting and authentic experiences.

Findings

Teachers are well supported to meet curriculum delivery and teaching expectations by detailed guidelines. The curriculum has a strong emphasis on school values and key competencies.

Local businesses and geographic features are used effectively by teachers as rich contexts for students’ learning. People within the local community also contribute their time and expertise to enhance students’ learning. Students’ interests in sporting activities and music are fostered within and beyond the school.

Teachers are quick to place an appropriate emphasis on areas of learning in response to identified needs from assessment information. Currently the emphasis is on mathematics. Students who need extra support to succeed, and their teachers, are effectively supported by specialist teachers within and beyond the school. Teachers have increased the use of ICT as a strategy to more fully engage students in their learning.

Teachers work collegially. They share strategies that may help students’ learning. Teachers and students also benefit from very able and skilled teacher aides.

Area for review and development

With the developing focus on more student-directed learning, it would be timely for teachers to seek students’ ideas and opinions about their learning and some aspects of school life that involve them. This was identified in the 2011 ERO review as an area for improvement.

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

Findings

Recent initiatives in response to the increased Māori roll are strengthening opportunities for Māori students. Teachers have increased their use of aspects of te reo and tikanga Māori in their classes. All students participate in kapahaka. A smaller group will represent the school at the Polyfest. In consultation with parents, achievement goals are set for students.

The board is mindful of the increase in the Māori roll and has appointed new staff with skills in te reo and tikanga Māori. These teachers support their colleagues to grow in competence and confidence in the use of te reo Māori in their classes.

Area for review and development

The board, principal and teachers need to develop a stronger understanding of, and strategy for, Māori success, as Māori. This includes showing how they are responding to areas of need identified in school-wide achievement data.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

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

Findings

The board’s response to the identified needs of students and staff is quick and shows a determination to improve outcomes for all students. Teachers and trustees are improvement focused and committed to taking part in ongoing professional development. Regular professional development for teachers and teacher aides from within the staff and from external providers is helping to build high quality practice and strategies to manage specific learning and behavioural needs.

The board surveys parents about their priorities for their children. The curriculum priorities reflect parent/community wishes.

The principal has established collaborative relationships among the new teaching team and with the community. She has pursued opportunities for teachers and students to join with other schools in the Southland area as a means of overcoming isolation and gaining new ideas to use for the benefit of students’ learning.

A next step is to improve the efficiency and rigour of curriculum review. The annual reports for reading, writing and mathematics could encompass a wider range of information that includes the extent to which Māori perspectives are integrated. This would contribute more usefully to a full review of each curriculum area.

Curriculum reports/reviews could also show links to:

  • current strategic focus areas such as developing student-directed learning
  • staff appraisal
  • teachers’ reflections and evaluations of units of work
  • professional learning and development
  • formal reviews (annual and cyclic).

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

Students enjoy the benefits of strong support from the parent and local rural community. Local businesses and geographic features are used effectively by teachers as rich contexts for learning. Historically Tokanui students achieve well, particularly in reading and writing. Students who need extra support to succeed are very well supported and make accelerated progress. The principal and board lead and govern the school well.

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

15 September 2014

About the School

Location

Eastern Southland

Ministry of Education profile number

4030

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

117

Gender composition

Boys: 54% Girls: 46%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

85%

15%

Review team on site

July 2014

Date of this report

15 September 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2011

April 2008

January 2005