Raetihi Primary School - 21/11/2017


Raetihi Primary School has 222 children in Years 1 to 8. Seventy-two percent of children identify as Māori. The roll has grown from 186 at the August 2014 ERO report.

Ngāti Uenuku are recognised as mana whenua. There is also strong affiliation to TeAti-Haunui-a- Papārangi, Ngāti Rangi and Ngāti Tūwharetoa.

Two Māori medium classes have been introduced in 2017. A teina (junior) class is full Māori immersion, using Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. Children’s progress and achievement will be assessed through reference to Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori (Ngā Whanaketanga). The tuakana (senior) class is bi-lingual and uses the New Zealand Curriculum and National Standards.

The vision defined by the school is for all children to achieve personal excellence through working together (Whakakotahi ki te mahi) within a curriculum based on a local context. KAHA values (Kotahitanga, Aroha, Hauora, Achieve) promote personal attributes supporting the vision. Children are positively engaged in the variety of academic, cultural and sporting activities available to them.

A number of teachers are new to the school since the start of 2016. Some members of the senior management team are new to their roles in 2017.

Areas for improvement identified in the previous ERO report continue to be worked on. Extensive literacy professional learning is contributing to increased teacher understanding and use of student assessment information. A range of strategies respond to children with additional learning needs. The school is still to effectively respond to the need to improve overall levels of achievement.

The school is part of the Ruapehu Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning, involving early childhood services and schools in the area.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

Further developments are required to improve student progress and achievement. The school needs to more effectively respond to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement require acceleration. Teachers and curriculum leaders are building their capability and developing systems to enable more effective responses to these learners.

The principal needs to take a more active role in leading evaluation, development of the school’s curriculum and improving effectiveness in accelerating student’s progress and achievement. He should also ensure that the board of trustees is well supported to address children’s emotional and physical safety.

At the time of this ERO review, this school was not well placed to provide conditions for learners to achieve educational excellence, or to address in-school disparities. ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two years.

Equity and excellence

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

The school needs to more effectively respond to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement require acceleration.

In 2016, the school reported that approximately half of children achieved at or above in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Overall, data declined from 2015, significantly so in reading and mathematics. The results for Māori children as a group were below non-Māori. A significant gap between female and male achievement remains.

National Standard data for individual children over the time they have been in the school indicates some Māori (and other) children make accelerated progress. Senior staff are beginning to analyse a range of assessment data to consider how teacher and wider school actions influence children’s progress. Greater use should be made of longitudinal data to decide how to better support children to accelerate progress.

Teachers are building their understanding of how to make dependable National Standard assessment judgements. External support, documented guidelines and in-school moderation assist better decision-making. Community of Learning involvement is supporting improved moderation.

Target children are identified to support the achievement improvement goals in the school’s annual plan. Teachers develop and share strategies to support these children. There is some collation of outcomes and reporting to trustees on literacy intervention programmes linked to groups of children. More regular evidence-based consideration of the impact of teaching and interventions, including within the Māori immersion classes, should support greater responsiveness to the need to accelerate the progress of priority learners.

The end of year variance report outlines the progress of some year levels. More comprehensive end of year analysis, linked to outcomes for target learners, should enable more meaningful evaluation of the impact of programmes and next steps for improvement.

The rumaki Māori teacher is developing her understanding and use of Ngā Whanaketanga to show achievement in te reo matatini (literacy) and pāngarau (numeracy) within the junior Māori medium class. A range of assessment information is collected that will contribute to Ngā Whanaketanga judgements.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

A positive learning environment promotes children’s wellbeing. Māori children’s culture, language and identity are affirmed and celebrated. Ngāti Uenukutanga is acknowledged and valued. Whānau aspirations are responded to positively. Introducing Māori medium classes illustrates a commitment to promoting authentic opportunities to support Māori success.

Children requiring acceleration in their literacy and mathematics learning are assisted through a range of classroom and support programmes. Board resourcing helps teachers to better respond to priority children’s identified needs. Focused, small group teaching related to literacy is the current focus. Initial reporting to trustees indicates a number of children have made positive progress in these targeted initiatives.

Well-considered processes assist children with complex needs to be actively engaged in learning. Ensuring effective transition into and through the school for these (and other) children is prioritised. Being part of a transition network comprising schools and early learning services supports children’s transitions and early response to identified challenges. Teachers and leaders work collaboratively with a range of external agencies to promote wellbeing and learning for children requiring additional support.

A range of strategies enables parents and whānau to be involved in the life of the school and included in their child’s learning. A recent focus has been to more effectively share current student learning. The school has recently reviewed the effectiveness of its communication with parents.

The new senior management team are building their collective capability as leaders of teaching, learning and internal evaluation practices. The principal promotes a distributed leadership model. Curriculum teams are supported to develop more effective planning for individuals and groups of learners. Leaders assist adults to use consistent approaches to ensuring an orderly and supportive environment conducive to student wellbeing and learning.

Professional learning in writing has contributed to teachers building their understanding of strategies likely to support improved achievement. School-collected Assessment Tools for Teaching and Learning (asTTle) information indicates most children targeted for writing in Year 5 and above made accelerated progress in 2016. Teachers and leaders are inquiring into writing data more deeply to determine how they may better support learners, particularly those requiring acceleration.

Increased collaboration amongst teachers supports inquiry into the progress of individual children and teaching strategies that support improvement. Ongoing evidence-based reflection against the Practising Teacher Criteria is an integral part of the appraisal process.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

Further developments are required to improve student progress and achievement. Since the previous ERO review the school has introduced a number of initiatives related to improving outcomes for children. These need to have a greater impact on progress and achievement. Effectively implementing identified good practice and ensuring sustainability are required.

A collaborative review of the Raetihi Primary School curriculum is required, to clearly outline teaching and learning expectations and guidelines. This should include:

  • the vision for learning, which may include development of a graduate profile
  • connections with mana whenua and the local community
  • a focus on accelerating progress in literacy and mathematics.

Curriculum development is likely to support shared understanding of teachers and other stakeholders, greater sustainability and contribute to positive achievement outcomes for more children.

The principal needs to take a more active role in leading evaluation, development of the school’s curriculum and improving effectiveness in accelerating students’ progress and achievement. He should make certain that the board of trustees is well supported to ensure children’s emotional and physical safety. Procedures and practices must be implemented that consistently enact board policy and guidelines.

The board of trustees works collaboratively with staff. Some useful literacy and National Standards achievement data is shared by curriculum leaders. Trustees need to regularly receive information that allows them to consider the effectiveness of the school’s response to all learners needing acceleration.

Continuing to build evaluative capacity across the school is a priority. More deliberate internal evaluation is necessary for leaders, teachers and trustees to know how effective the curriculum is in enabling success for all children and to inform ongoing planning for consistent, sustainable practice and improvement.

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 children (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of children
  • teacher registration and certification
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of children
  • attendance
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Actions required

While on site in the school, ERO identified non-compliance in relation to policies, procedures and practices in a number of areas linked to children’s emotional and physical safety.

In order to address these the board must:

  1. establish and implement comprehensive procedures for police vetting [Education Act 1989, Sections 78C]
  2. develop policies and procedures on surrender and retention of property and searches of children. [Education Act 1989, Section 139AAA to 139AAH]

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should ensure:

  • policies and procedures linked to child safety and appointment of staff meet the expectations of the Vulnerable Children Act and the associated Ministry of Education guidelines
  • development of comprehensive emergency and crisis response procedures
  • documenting approaches to preventing bullying and managing bullying behaviour and how they will ascertain the success of these strategies
  • review of the current use of closed circuit television cameras to ensure it aligns with Privacy Commissioner guidelines
  • use of the Ministry of Education document Health and Safety At Work Act 2015, A Practical Guide for Boards of Trustees and School Leaders to make certain the board is meeting its responsibility for responding to potential risk in the school
  • board minutes, including those that are recorded in meetings with the public excluded, reflect best practice guidelines.

Since the onsite phase of the ERO evaluation, the principal and board have developed policies and procedures in response to the areas identified above.

Going forward

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

At the time of this review, this school was not well placed to provide conditions for learners to achieve educational excellence, or to address in-school disparities. The main areas to address are:

  • improving progress and achievement

  • ensuring the curriculum successfully responds to all children

  • building the principal’s professional leadership to focus more on reducing disparities and promoting excellence

  • improving evaluative capacity

  • building governance effectiveness

  • ensuring policies and procedures supporting children’s emotional and physical safety reflect current good practice guidelines.

Leaders and teachers:

  • have not yet adequately built their knowledge of the learners whose progress 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 learners who need it.

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


ERO recommends that the Secretary for Education considers intervention under Part 7A of the Education Act 1989 in order to bring about the following improvements:

  • more effective principal professional leadership in relation to:
    • curriculum and evaluation to support improved achievement
    • ensuring procedures to support emotional and physical safety align with good practice guidelines and are appropriately monitored
  • supporting trustees to strengthen governance understanding and practice.

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

21 November 2017

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full primary (Year 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 56%, Female 44%

Ethnic composition

Māori 72%
Pākehā 27%
Other ethnic groups 1%

Review team on site

August 2017

Date of this report

21 November 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review August 2014
Education Review July 2011
Supplementary Review May 2009