Kawerau Putauaki School - 18/11/2016

1 Context

Kawerau Putauaki School is situated in the township of Kawerau and caters for children from Years 1 to 6. The school roll of 184 includes 163 Māori children. Since the 2013 ERO review a new principal has been appointed, and a new assistant principal was appointed in 2016. The board or trustees comprises a mix of new and experienced parent representatives.

The 2013 ERO report noted positive progress had been made in improving aspects of assessment, building teacher capability and self review. The report also noted that further development of the curriculum was required as well as setting clear expectations for teaching and learning. Since 2015, teachers have been involved in significant professional development in reading and assessment for learning.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to pursue knowledge that they may also enrich others. The school whakataukī is ‘as the Kotuku conquers Putauaki, let the children surmount their challenges’.

The school’s achievement information shows that between 2012 and 2013 approximately two thirds of Māori children achieved at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. A significant drop in achievement occurred in 2014 due to increased monitoring and scrutiny of teacher judgements in relation to National Standards. The 2015 data shows that approximately 60% of children achieved at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

The school is slowly improving moderation systems and practices, particularly in reading to support teachers to make sound overall teacher judgements (OTJs) for each child in response to National Standards.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has focused on the following areas to promote equity and excellence:

  • Culturally responsive practices that included the establishment of a rumaki class in 2014.
  • Refocusing the positive behaviour for learning (PB4L) initiative to meet the needs of students and establishing the values of taking responsibility, achieving excellence and having respect.
  • Increasing opportunities for children to achieve success across the curriculum through initiatives such as the digital class and performing arts.
  • Building consistency of teaching practice across the school through the development of shared understandings of effective pedagogy in reading and teaching as inquiry.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school does not effectively respond to all Māori children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. There is variable evidence of accelerated outcomes for Māori children who are below or well below expectations. Critical issues that need to be addressed include:

  • the inconsistencies in teacher's collation, analysis and use of assessment information to accelerate the progress and achievement of the high number of children who are below or well below the National Standards
  • the lack of reliable and dependable OTJs especially in writing and mathematics
  • school systems, practices and expectations that are not cohesive, focused and aligned on accelerating children who are at risk in their learning
  • the lack of team cohesion, unity, professional accountability and commitment of some teachers to improving their practice.

Despite these challenges there are models of good practice in the school. In the junior area, teachers can show reliable evidence of accelerated outcomes for Māori who were below or well below when they began school, and who are at and above the National Standard by the end of Year 3. These teachers have developed good assessment processes and make good use of the learning progressions to support teaching and learning and overall teacher judgements (OTJs). A next step for senior leaders is to develop these good practices across the school.

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The challenges the school faces in accelerating the progress and achievement of Māori children is a concern for other children as well. The next step for leaders is to:

  • improve the management and use of assessment information
  • develop robust moderation processes
  • implement a planned and cohesive approach to accelerating children at risk in their learning
  • significantly improve accountability, consistency and quality of teaching practice.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The school's curriculum and other organisational process and practices do not fully support the enactment of the schools vision, targets and goals for equity and excellence.

School-wide expectations for effective teaching and learning, utilising the good practice models in the junior school have been established but are not implemented in all classrooms. Teaching as inquiry is working effectively for some teachers but is not consistent school wide nor contributing to accelerated outcomes for Māori children. Some teachers chose not to fully participate in the school's appraisal process in 2015. The lack of teacher accountability and commitment to improving their practice is inhibiting the school's vision and goals for equity and excellence for children.

The poor coordination and monitoring of learning support programmes is an immediate priority for the school to address. Children with specific learning needs are not well catered for. There is very little evidence that children in these programmes make progress and the board of trustees are not receiving regular information about the effective provision of learning support.

While achievement targets in the school's charter have been developed, these do not clearly focus on accelerating the number of children who are below or well below the National Standards. Neither are these targets supported by action planning that is deliberate and responsive to the specific learning needs of these children. Children at risk do not have deliberate planned actions for accelerating achievement.

Trustees have significantly strengthened governance systems, procedures and practices and are beginning to closely scrutinise student achievement data as the basis for decision making. Trustees do not have ongoing programmes of self review to determine the effectiveness of programmes, initiatives, and resourcing decisions. Improved internal evaluation practices should support trustees to effectively respond to children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration.

The development of reading progressions and the consistent use of learning intentions and success criteria by teachers are positive developments. Guided reading is a professional learning and development focus for teachers that includes regular observation and feedback about their practice. Ongoing moderation in reading has improved the reliability of OTJs in most classes. Teacher's involvement in external professional development is leading to improved classroom practice in reading.

Leadership is working extremely hard to address teacher accountability and to build their capability. Together leaders are committed to resolving the lack of team unity, building teacher capability, accelerating student achievement, and ensuring that expectations for classroom teaching are implemented. School leaders focus on leadership for equity and excellence and are focused on improving outcomes for children.

Te reo and tikanga Māori is naturally woven throughout the everyday life of the school. The rumaki class provides instruction in te reo Māori and all children can participate in regular whole-school kapa haka. The next step for rumaki teachers is to continue to ensure the reliability and dependability of assessments and processes for making OTJs in relation to Ngā Whanaketanga. Māori children are well supported to grow in their language, culture and identity.

Clear expectations for learning and behaviour have been established. The revitalisation of PB4L is leading to consistent approach to behaviour management school wide. Children with specific and severe special education needs are well catered for through the good use of internal support and external specialists. Tuakana/teina is a good opportunity for children to support each other and develop positive social skills. Children's holistic learning needs appear to be well supported.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

The school is not well placed to accelerate the achievement of children who are below expected levels

Leaders and teachers:

  • have not yet adequately built their knowledge of the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • have not yet adequately established necessary conditions to effectively accelerate learning and achievement
  • are not well placed to achieve and sustain accelerated achievement for all children who need it.

The school has models of good practice to support children whose progress and achievement needs acceleration. Examples include the junior school that has assessment practices and systems for closely tracking and monitoring children's progress. The principal is managing change through a challenging period. She has supported teachers to build their capability in reading and has implemented clear expectations for teaching and learning. The principal is well supported by the board who have improved aspects of governance.

The next steps for reducing disparity are to improve:

  • teachers analysis and use of assessment information to accelerate children's learning
  • school-wide tracking and monitoring of children who are below or well below the National Standards
  • the alignment and cohesion of school-wide processes and practices with children whose learning needs acceleration
  • charter targets that specifically focus on children at risk in their learning
  • the coordination and monitoring of learning support
  • teacher accountability and performance.

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two years.

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • 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

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

ERO identified areas of non-compliance. Trustees must ensure that:

  • all teachers are appraised annually and meet Education Council expectations
    [Part 31 Education Act 1989]
  • senior leaders and teachers give priority to raising student achievement and further developing the curriculum to meet the needs of students needing acceleration
    [NAG 1, 2a]
  • an ongoing programme of self review is maintained to monitor the effectiveness of plans, policies and programmes, including evaluation of information on student achievement
    [NAG 2]

7 Recommendations

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education provides:

  • support for the school to address the issues identified in this report
  • targeted professional learning and development to:
    • build teacher capability across all curriculum areas and data literacy
    • strengthen the reliability and validity of achievement data in mathematics and writing
    • improve formative assessment practice. 

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

18 November 2016 

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 51% Girls 49%

Ethnic composition







Review team on site

September 2016

Date of this report

18 November 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

December 2013

July 2012