Coastal Taranaki School - 29/10/2015


Students benefit from a positive environment, guided by the values of respect, responsibility and readiness to learn. Teachers know students well and foster home-school partnership. Trustees and acting leaders are working to strengthen systems and processes to support improved learning outcomes for students.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

1 Context

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

Coastal Taranaki School is a rural area school in Okato. It provides education for 323 students from Years 1 to 13, of whom almost a third are Māori. The overall roll has increased by 14% since ERO’s 2012 review.

The previous principal recently retired, and an acting principal is in place.

A feature of the school is its mentoring and support initiative, which continues to provide targeted learning support for identified students. A new ‘reading together’ programme is a platform for parents and whānau to help their children improve their reading.

Teachers and students are involved in the first phase of the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) initiative. Expectations that students are respectful, responsible and ready to learn are clearly articulated and understood schoolwide.

Digital technologies are increasingly integrated into teaching and learning. A well-run onsite community library enhances students’ all-day access to high quality learning resources.

Progress has been made with some areas identified for development in ERO’s previous report. Others continue to require improvement.

2 Learning

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

Aspects of the use of achievement data continue to be a focus for improvement.

Leaders and teachers gather, collate and analyse a suitable range of reliable achievement information. They use it to identify students at risk of achieving below expected levels and to provide appropriate support for accelerated progress. Strategies to make positive changes to individual learners’ achievement are developed and well monitored by two special needs coordinators, who collaborate closely with classroom teachers.

Student achievement information is analysed to gain an overall view of trends and patterns and make changes in response to this knowledge. Greater depth of analysis is likely to increase the effectiveness of steps taken to meet the specific learning needs of individuals and groups.

Teachers place high priority on maintaining regular, reciprocal communication with parents and whānau about students’ learning and progress. They foster positive home-school partnership, particularly in relation to students at risk of not achieving to expected levels. Parents receive written reports and most attend three-way conferences with students and teachers to review progress and determine next steps for learning.

The board is well informed about students’ achievement. Trustees receive reports from syndicate and curriculum leaders three times a year, and use this information to guide decision-making, planning and resourcing.

Annual achievement targets remain broad. The value of sharpening these to focus on specific groups of learners who are achieving below expectations is understood by leaders and trustees. Fine tuning of targets should contribute to further raising students’ achievement, by ensuring that teaching is explicitly directed at aspects of learning that need improvement.

In Years 1 to 8, teachers’ assessment of learning in relation to National Standards is based on multiple sources of evidence. The accuracy of these overall teacher judgements is increasingly assured, with sound moderation both within the school and externally with other schools. At the end of 2014, most students were achieving at or above National Standards in reading and mathematics. Fewer students reached these levels in writing, with many boys being significantly below the expected standards.

Overall, Māori students’ achievement in 2014 was generally slightly below their peers. Midyear data from 2015, however, shows positive shifts for this group.

Literacy and mathematics achievement of students in Years 9 and 10 is reported as overall teacher judgements, using sound measures. Some faculty leaders are yet to reliably assess and report on the achievement of these students in relation to curriculum levels.

The school has good knowledge of individual students’ progress towards gaining National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA). In 2014, the percentage of students who left school with NCEA Level 2 or better was lower than national rates. Trustees and leaders recognise the need to provide the focused support necessary for students to remain at school longer and gain higher qualifications.

3 Curriculum

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

Leaders and teachers have begun a comprehensive review of the school’s curriculum. This strategic focus appropriately demonstrates a commitment to ensuring that programmes and courses are relevant, personalised, flexible and cohesive. The goal is to increase students’ engagement and achievement.

An area that requires continued development is the integration of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Authentic reflection of the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand is necessary, to show all students where they belong in the national and local context.

There is a positive tone schoolwide, and students are generally well engaged in purposeful learning. ERO observed examples of highly effective teaching. Expectations to guide teaching and learning are clearly articulated. Leaders need to strengthen processes for building and sustaining consistency in the quality of classroom practice across the school.

Teachers reflect on and inquire into aspects of their professional practice. Inquiries generally require a stronger focus on the impact of specific teaching strategies on improved student learning, progress and engagement.

The Positive Behaviour for Learning initiative is in its early stages of implementation. ERO’s evaluation found that the values and expectations developed by the school community are well known and understood, particularly in the junior school. As the school moves into the second implementation phase, a stronger emphasis on habits of learning is planned. This is likely to strengthen the school’s enactment of the ‘learning to learn’ principle of The New Zealand Curriculum. Students are increasingly supported to become independent, self-directed learners.

The development of education for sustainable living classes for Years 7 to 10 demonstrates the school’s responsive, innovative approach to meeting identified student needs. Teaching and learning in these classes closely reflect the school’s values. Students are well engaged in meaningful activities that help them to build confidence and self-management skills. Students enjoy this learning and express pride in their successes and positive contribution to the life of the school.

There is strong evidence that the mentoring and support programme in Years 11 to 13 successfully engages selected students and their parents and whānau in positive approaches to learning. An acknowledged next step is to formally evaluate the overall impact of the programme, including feedback from learners and parents.

A range of learning pathways is available to students in Years 11 to 13. Active partnerships with community providers enable students to learn from work experience and gain credits in agriculture, hospitality, construction and outdoor pursuits.

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

Leaders and trustees have begun to strengthen marae and iwi links. Further work is needed by leaders and teachers, however, to promote educational success for Māori students as Māori.

Celebration of Māori learners’ language, culture and identity needs to be embedded, especially in Years 9 to 13. Greater reflection of te ao Māori in the environment and day-to-day practices is likely to increase Māori students’ sense of belonging and engagement in learning.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is in a transition period pending the appointment of a new principal. At the time of this review, it was developing systems to sustain and improve its performance.

Key factors underpinning the current situation are:

  • a strongly committed board of trustees, who have a clear understanding of their governance roles and responsibilities and prioritise improvements in student achievement
  • the acting senior leaders, who are focused on developing sound systems and processes to support students’ learning and engagement
  • high levels of parent and family involvement
  • well-coordinated pastoral care and close monitoring of students’ wellbeing
  • a robust teacher appraisal framework.

To further promote the ongoing development and improvement of teaching and learning, trustees and leaders should:

  • carefully monitor the implementation of appraisal systems and processes
  • continue to develop and strengthen processes for evaluative inquiry at all levels.

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.

To meet accountabilities, the board must:

  • develop and monitor systems for ensuring that existing and potential hazards are systematically identified and remedied.
    [s7 Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992]
  • ensure that the policy and procedures for the selection and appointment of staff are fully adhered to.
    [s77A State Sector Act]


Students benefit from a positive environment, guided by the values of respect, responsibility and readiness to learn. Teachers know students well and foster home-school partnership. Trustees and acting leaders are working to strengthen systems and processes to support improved learning outcomes for students.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

29 October 2015

About the School


Okato, Taranaki

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Composite (Years 1-15)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 54%, Female 46%

Ethnic composition



Other ethnic groups




Review team on site

September 2015

Date of this report

29 October 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2012

November 2009

June 2007