Te Awamutu Primary School - 03/07/2020

School Context

Te Awamutu Primary School is located in the Waikato, catering for students in Years 1 to 6. It has a roll of 496 students, approximately a third whom identify as Māori.

The school’s vision is ‘Together achieving personal success|Ma te mahi tahi ka eke panuku’. The recently reviewed school values are responsibility, respect, positive relationships and resilience.

Te Awamutu Primary School’s strategic goals for 2020 include improving teacher pedagogy with a focus on formative assessment, developing culturally responsive practices, and improving the wellbeing of students and staff.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics.

Since the previous December 2016 ERO report, the roll has grown significantly, and the school is undertaking major building works. There have been several personnel changes in key positions, including the appointment of a new principal and two new deputy principals. Most of the board trustees were newly-elected in 2019.

The school is a member of the Rural and Roses school support and development cluster.

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 yet to achieve equitable and excellent outcomes for all students.

The school’s achievement data from 2017 to 2019 shows that most students achieved at or above national curriculum expectations in reading, writing and mathematics, including a large majority of Māori students.

Data over time shows that disparity of achievement for Māori students compared to their Pākehā peers remains in writing and mathematics and is increasing in reading. Significant disparity remains in reading for boys compared to girls. Disparity for boys is reducing in writing. Boys and girls have comparable achievement levels in mathematics.

Information provided by the school shows that students with additional needs who have individual education plans are making good progress towards their goals.

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

The school is not yet collating and analysing data schoolwide to show rates of progress and acceleration for all at-risk students.

The school is able to show acceleration for a small number of targeted students, including Māori, through some literacy interventions. This data was collated during the ERO review process.

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?

Students learn in an orderly and supportive environment. Classrooms are settled and well resourced. Students benefit from respectful relationships with teachers. Students with additional needs are well supported by the special education needs coordinator (SENCO) and their team. The SENCO uses a range of data to prioritise programmes for at-risk students and to provide learning opportunities for gifted and talented (GATE) students and English language learners (ELL).

Trustees and leaders have a strong focus on improving opportunities for Māori students succeeding as Māori. The recent implementation of the Kura Kotahi Rā (one-day school) is supporting a number of students, most of whom are Māori, to participate in a localised curriculum underpinned by the school’s mātauranga Māori. Te Kura Kotahi Rā is conducted in a mix of te reo Māori and English, and students are supported to grow their confidence through scaffolded teaching and affirming relationships. Whānau are strongly encouraged to participate and share their expertise.

Leaders collaboratively working towards achieving the school’s vision and goals. Since the previous ERO review, a number of school systems and processes have been reviewed and useful frameworks have been developed to support consistent schoolwide practices. There is a strategic approach to developing middle leadership capability and to create shared understanding of best practice. Student wellbeing is prioritised through a team approach to pastoral care and by using leadership’s community networks. Clearly documented procedures and expectations guide the management and support of positive behaviour for learning.

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

Trustees and leaders need to develop achievement targets that include all students whose progress requires acceleration. Teachers and leaders should use data to track, monitor and regularly report on the progress of these students. Trustees must also scrutinise this data to inform resourcing and strategic decision-making.

Undertaking internal evaluation at all levels of the school should enable trustees, leaders and teachers to understand the impact and effectiveness of programmes and interventions on outcomes for students, particularly at-risk learners.

Leaders have identified, and ERO agree, that there is a need to develop teacher capability to effectively use formative assessment practices. This should:

  • strengthen the consistency of differentiated planning, particularly in response to the specific needs of at-risk learners
  • support students to know their individual learning goals and next steps.

Leaders have developed a coherent localised curriculum document that includes a sequential framework for te ao Māori. There is now a need to develop teachers’ capacity and confidence to fully enact this documented bi-cultural curriculum schoolwide.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Te Awamutu Primary 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.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a culture and environment that is conducive to learning
  • leadership that provides strategic direction and focuses on schoolwide improvement.

Next steps

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

  • effective use of achievement data to support accelerated progress for learners who are at-risk of underachieving
  • internal evaluation for targeted planning and action
  • building professional capability and collective capacity to improve equitable and excellent outcomes for students.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • fully implement the school’s documented appraisal process
  • formalise induction processes for all staff.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region - Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

3 July 2020

About the school

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