Piopio Primary School - 27/06/2014


Piopio Primary School continues to build strong community links in a friendly family-like atmosphere. Students have access to a wide range of learning experiences, including traditional rural events. The principal, trustees and staff work well together in the best interests of students, including those who need extra help.

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?

Piopio Primary School is a contributing school (Years 1 to 6) in a small town, in the King Country. The current student roll is 127, of whom 49 are identified as Māori. The majority of Māori students whakapapa to Tainui and Ngāti Maniapoto. The roll has decreased from the time of the previous ERO review. The school operates six classes.

The experienced school leaders continue in their positions, and there have been minimal changes of staff since the last ERO review. There is strong community support for the school, which extends beyond current parents to include those with intergenerational links and historical identification with this rural area. Students benefit from the family-like atmosphere and the clearly articulated values that help to build close and caring relationships amongst students and adults at the school.

Following trustee elections in 2013, several new members came on the board. A new chairperson was appointed. Under the leadership of the principal, senior leadership team and staff, the charter was extensively reviewed in 2013. It includes statements about school values, a student graduate profile and commitments to the Treaty of Waitangi. Extensive goals and plans are set out under each of the main governance and curriculum areas.

The school responded constructively to recommendations in the 2011 ERO report. Whole staff professional development about te reo and tikanga Māori has been undertaken for over two years. Other professional learning has been linked to strengthening the use of achievement information for setting targets for students achieving below expected levels, and revisiting teaching in numeracy.

2 Learning

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

The school uses achievement information effectively to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. A school-wide assessment schedule has been developed to guide the gathering and collation of student achievement data.

Senior teachers work with classroom teachers to identify priority learners, who are at risk of not achieving at nationally expected levels. Teachers monitor the progress of these students closely, and share progress and successes with other staff in their teams. Teachers also work with students to develop and share learning goals, particularly in literacy, numeracy and key competencies. In addition, teachers maintain individual student portfolios, which include samples of assessed work. These portfolios complement the twice-yearly written reports to parents.

School leaders report student assessment information to the board of trustees and propose appropriate annual achievement targets, especially for priority learners. School leaders and ERO agree that there would now be benefit in considering the increased use of nationally standardised assessment tools. This is likely to strengthen the evidence supporting overall teacher judgements about individual student achievement in relation to National Standards.

The school’s 2013 data shows the proportion of students achieving at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics, is comparable to national averages, and other schools in the region. The school recognises that raising student achievement levels in writing remains a challenge.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s holistic curriculum effectively supports and promotes student learning. Students enjoy access to a broad range of academic, sporting, cultural and social learning opportunities. The school culture is welcoming and inclusive, and considerate behaviour by students is promoted. Older students are encouraged to take on leadership responsibilities to support the learning of younger students. The Community Youth Sport Group facilitates a wide range of sporting opportunities for students. The community is regularly used as a resource to extend students’ learning experiences, and education outside the classroom activities are well developed.

Literacy and numeracy remain as priorities in the academic curriculum. Teachers know the students and their families well. They successfully create and maintain affirming and mutually respectful relationships in their classrooms. High levels of student engagement were observed by the ERO team. Teachers identify and effectively plan for students with diverse learning needs. These students, including those with high needs, are well supported by a capable team of teacher aides. Inside and outside learning environments are well resourced and attractively presented.

The principal is a reflective practitioner and continues to provide sound educational leadership. Well-documented guidelines are in place for the day-to-day management of the school. In cooperation with the syndicate leaders, he models and promotes a culture of professional learning for teachers. The performance management process has an increased emphasis on reflective practice and peer observation. The principal and ERO agree that greater consistency in the delivery of high-quality teaching is likely to benefit learning outcomes for students, across all years of the school. To achieve this, teachers should:

  • develop and document shared understandings and expectations for best practice in teaching and learning
  • review and consolidate best practice in writing
  • extend the use of computer technologies to enhance learning outcomes for students.

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

The school is effectively promoting educational success for Māori as Māori. Increasingly, the culture, identity and language of Māori students is being valued, respected and promoted. The Māori Student Success Plan encourages the holding of pōwhiri to welcome visitors, visits to local marae and areas of cultural significance. Students have benefitted through links with Māori students from the adjoining college, who have tutored groups in Māori games, language and culture.

Staff have had sustained professional development in te reo and tikanga Māori one morning a week, and most classrooms reflect a visible Māori perspective. The board has a trustee who is Māori, and it has funded the provision of a weekly Māori language course for students.

Māori students are achieving at levels comparable to other Māori students nationally and regionally. However, their achievement remains lower than non-Māori students in the school.

School leaders recognise that the next steps are for staff to take a more leading role in te reo and tikanga Māori programmes, and to further integrate te ao Māori within the curriculum.

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. Factors supporting this include:

  • a board of trustees who bring appropriate skills and experience to their governance roles, and who are committed to supporting student success
  • the experienced principal who seeks to promote the best interests of students and the community
  • teachers and staff who set and model high expectations for students
  • an inclusive and affirming school culture that supports positive educational outcomes for students
  • parents and community members who give generously of the time and energy to provide extra opportunities for students, and additional resources for the school
  • self-review processes that have been strengthened.

School leaders, the board and ERO agree that priorities for further school improvement are to:

  • identify a limited number of key strategic priorities, and align them with professional objectives of the principal, senior leaders and teachers
  • gather parent and community voice on matters of importance
  • continue with recent initiatives to strengthen partnerships with early childhood providers and the secondary college in the area
  • develop a governance manual to support induction of new board members and clarify governance roles.

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.


Piopio Primary School continues to build strong community links in a friendly family-like atmosphere. Students have access to a wide range of learning experiences, including traditional rural events. The principal, trustees and staff work well together in the best interests of students, including those who need extra help.

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

27 June 2014

About the School


Northern King Country

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 54%

Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā






Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

27 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

July 2011

June 2008

June 2005