Kopuarahi School - 11/10/2016

1 Context

Kopuarahi School is a rural school located south of Thames. It caters for children from Years 1 to 8. The current roll of 28 children includes 14 children who are Māori. The principal is long serving and staffing has remained consistent. The major professional learning and development focus has been mathematics.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to have the confidence to face challenges and take risks, resulting in confident life-long learners who are actively involved, self motivated and reflective about their own learning.

The school’s achievement information shows that in 2015, all but a few Māori children were achieving at expected levels in mathematics, reading and writing. In total, seven out of 27 children performed below National Standards in mathematics and reading, eight out of 27 children performed below expectations in writing. Girls are out performing boys especially in the first two years of school.

A range of processes and systems for supporting teachers to make overall teacher judgements has been implemented. Anecdotal information of children's progress is also gathered. Teachers are beginning to share moderation practices with other schools.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has responded in a number of ways to those children who are not achieving at expected levels. Teachers have:

  • implemented a mathematics programme that identifies and targets individual children with specific learning needs
  • engaged in professional learning and development that enables them to be more responsive to the way that boys learn
  • grouped children in different ways to encourage peer tutoring and collaborative/ako teaching and learning processes
  • strengthened the language, culture and identity of Māori children through including and encouraging their interests and experiences in learning programmes
  • increased the emphasis on authentic and meaningful contexts to promote children's interests and engagement in mathematics and writing programmes.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

Kopuarahi School responds well to most children whose learning and achievement need acceleration but is not yet effectively responding for all children. The school's processes for identifying children at risk are well established. Teachers know the specific interests and learning needs of Māori and others. As a result, children experience smooth transitions from one class to the next. There is minimal disruption to children's learning as they undertake classroom and school-wide retesting and assessments.

A culture of inquiry is developing. Teachers use ongoing research to identify the needs of targeted children, and then innovative ways of responding to their needs are investigated and implemented. Targets and goals are clear and effective in focussing teachers' efforts on those at risk of not achieving. Teachers use the progressions effectively to identify children's learning needs, track their progress and plan how to respond to each child's next steps for learning.

Since the end of 2015, the school has accelerated the progress of five targeted children in reading, of whom two are Māori. In writing and mathematics, children's learning and progress is recorded but accelerated achievement is not known.

Children at risk of not achieving are responded to in the following ways:

  • one-on-one conferencing in literacy and mathematics provides immediate, specific and targeted feedback
  • teachers effectively using literacy and mathematics progressions to track children's progress and identify their next steps in learning
  • teachers maintaining regular contact with parents of targeted children to:

- discuss ongoing progress and share next steps in their learning

- collaborate on how they can help at home

- establish high expectations for children's learning.

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 curriculum and other organisational processes and practices effectively enact the school's vision and values, goals and targets for equity and excellence in practice. However, the school needs to ensure that current practice is reflected in these guiding documents. A clear vision has been established and includes a strong focus on raising children's achievement. Parents and whānau feel welcome and at ease.

There are strong elements of a culturally responsive curriculum at Kopuarahi School. A feature is the relationships of care and connectedness between teachers and children. Teachers use extensive knowledge of children's family and whānau backgrounds to deepen their understanding of targeted students' needs. An inclusive environment is promoted by teachers where all children and their diverse learning needs are acknowledged and affirmed. There are extensive opportunities for tuakana to support teina in the classroom and in the playground.

Parents appreciate a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. Māori parents express a strong sense of ownership and are highly engaged in school activities and their children's learning. Parents value tikanga Māori as a natural part of the life of the school. They have a strong sense of pride in the achievements of their children, which leads to high levels of confidence amongst children and families. Parents are engaged as partners in their children's learning.

Strong professional networks are developed and maintained by the principal to provide both challenge and support for ongoing school improvement. A sound appraisal system reflects current best practice and is being strengthened with the addition of more formal classroom observations, including feedback from the children. A range of professional learning and development is provided and is aligned to support the progress and achievement of target students in writing and mathematics.

Teachers involve parents in their children's learning through regular homework and targeted advice on how to help at home with programmes such as Reading Together. Parent and whānau support in the Fun Friday programme provides good opportunity for utilising the skills, expertise and knowledge of parents and community members. Children benefit from collaborative teaching and learning processes, and the sharing of local knowledge.

Reports to parents have recently been reviewed to make children's progress and achievement easier for parents to understand.

Trustees are representative of the schools' community, and positive and responsive relationships are developed. Training and guidance is accessed to provide ongoing support and build the governance capacity of the board. This should ensure the board remains focussed on ongoing improvement and development.

5 Going forward

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

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how teaching is working for these children
  • need to systematically act on what they know works for each child
  • need to have a plan in place to build teacher capability to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it.

To accelerate the achievement of children at risk of not meeting national expectations teachers need to:

  • strengthen the ways that children are empowered to take responsibility for their own learning
  • continue to enrich the classroom in ways which celebrates children's successes
  • ensure learning programmes more strongly reflects Māori children's language, culture and identity
  • review the school vision and continue to develop curriculum documents so that they better reflect current practice
  • regularly plan and evaluate the curriculum and teaching to accelerate progress for those children at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes.

In addition, trustees and leaders need to strengthen:

  • their professional working relationships
  • the behaviour management policy to ensure all students reflect a strong sense of belonging and are well supported at all times
  • the recruitment and appointments policy to reflect current best practice.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should use the findings of this evaluation, the Effective School Evaluation resource, the Internal Evaluation: Good Practice exemplars and the School Evaluation Indicators to develop a Raising Achievement Plan to further develop processes and practices that respond effectively to the strengths and needs of children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s Raising Achievement plan and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full review in three 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.

The board must ensure that:

  1. They review health and safety policies and behaviour management guidelines to ensure that students are well supported.
    [NAG5 Health, Safety and Welfare]
  2. 7.A review is undertaken of the implementation of practices relating the code of conduct for trustees.
    [NAG 1; Board Administration]

7 Recommendations

ERO recommends that the board of trustees seeks external support in order to bring about the following improvements:

  • stability of governance and professional leadership relationships over the next two years
  • review health and safety practices to ensure all students are well supported at all times
  • review the school vision and curriculum document so that they better reflect current practice. 

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato/Bay of Plenty

11 October 2016 

About the school


Thames, Waikato

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 16 Girls 12

Ethnic composition









Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

11 October 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

April 2013

May 2010

June 2007