Te Mahia School - 27/01/2017

1 Context

Te Mahia School is located on the Mahia Peninsula and caters for students from Years 1 to 8. Of the 44 students, 42 identify as Māori. Te Mahia School is a Silver Enviroschool. Students are involved in many projects in the community including the protection of the Whangawehi Awa and the restoration of the Opoutama Wetlands.

The acting principal has been appointed for Terms 3 and 4, 2016. As a result of 2016 board elections, three parent representatives were re-elected and one new trustee joined the board.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to 'build a stronger future together through lifelong learning' and 'to be the best we can be'. The values of kaitiakitanga (caring for the environment), manaakitanga (caring/ respect), whanaungatanga (relationships/ family), te maungateatanga (excellence/top of the highest peak) and kanorau (diversity) were developed in consultation with whānau and the community.

The school’s achievement information shows that accelerating the progress of many students is a priority. Over the past three years, achievement in writing and mathematics has improved. Reading achievement has remained unchanged. Achievement in writing, where about half of the students achieve at or above in relation to the National Standard, is identified as the area of most urgent need.

Strengthening assessment practices, including moderation, should improve the reliability and validity of student achievement data.

Since the April 2014 ERO evaluation the school has been involved in extensive professional learning and development (PLD) in writing and mathematics. A Student Achievement Function Practitioner (SAFP) has worked with the principal this year to develop a plan to support acceleration and build leadership capability.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school has yet to respond effectively to students whose learning needs acceleration.

The principal and the SAFP have developed a plan to raise achievement for Māori learners in reading, writing and mathematics. Implementation started in Term 2, 2016. A range of actions to support acceleration has been identified. The principal plans to evaluate the impact of these strategies to inform future direction. Schoolwide data in 2016 indicates limited improvement in reading, writing and mathematics.

Teachers identify and target all students not meeting the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. A goal-setting system enables teachers and students to track and monitor progress, achievement and next steps. Continuing to strengthen this process should build teachers' capability to use effective teaching strategies to address specific, identified learning needs.

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?

Te Mahia School's curriculum appropriately gives priority to reading, writing and mathematics. The school's values underpin teaching and learning. Meaningful and authentic contexts for learning are encouraged.

The school curriculum needs further development to fully align with The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) and effectively promote and support student learning. Developments should include guidelines for:

  • effective teaching of reading, writing and mathematics
  • coverage of all learning areas and how the NZC principles are enacted.

Students, staff and whānau have a strong commitment to, and involvement with, the school. Māori language, culture and identity are highly valued. The school community was instrumental in the introduction of the teaching and learning of te reo Māori in the junior classes. There are plans to extend this initiative across the school. Tuakana teina relationships enrich learning. There are positive, respectful interactions between adults and students.

The board fund resources, initiatives and programmes to improve outcomes for learners. Trustees should seek support to build their knowledge and understanding of their stewardship role, including their responsibility for promoting student achievement. 

Leadership focuses on improving teaching and learning. Staff work collaboratively to develop a consistent approach. Teachers reflect on their practice and share ideas and knowledge with each other. They are at an early stage of inquiring into the effectiveness of their practice. Teacher inquiry should be evidence based and focused on the acceleration of student achievement. The impact of PLD on student outcomes should also be evaluated.

Teacher appraisal requires further development to better promote professional capabilities. This should include:

  • improvement goals and targets
  • focused observations, with specific feedback identifying strengths and areas to improve
  • gathering sufficient evidence in relation to the Practising Teacher Criteria.

Trustees, the principal and teachers should continue to build their collective capacity to support improvement. Key next steps include:

  • making student achievement targets more specific
  • improving analysis and reporting of student achievement
  • developing a shared understanding of evaluation and inquiry, to know about what works and what needs to change.

These actions should help identify the impact of teaching practices, programmes and initiatives on student progress and will support decision making about resourcing.

5 Going forward

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

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.

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.

Current school policies and procedures do not provide sufficient guidance for school operation. Significant work is needed to ensure that all policies and procedures support best practice and comply with legislative requirements. Policy review needs strengthening.

During the course of ERO's external evaluation the following areas of non-compliance were identified. To meet requirements trustees must:

  • ensure the professional leaders of the school appraise staff in teaching positions based on the Practising Teacher Criteria established and maintained by the Education Council for the issue and renewal of practising certificates
    [Section 31, Education Act 1989]
  • meet the timeframes of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014 and strengthen appointments policy and procedures
    [Vulnerable Children Act 2014].
  • Ensure parent/caregiver permission is given whenever students leave the premises on an outing or excursion, and that adult and child ratios are determined
    [NAG 5: Health and Safety].
  • develop a policy and procedure on the surrender and retention of property and searches of students.
    [Education Act 1989, sections 139AAA to 139AAF]

In order to improve current practices the board of trustees should ensure that:

  • health and safety guidelines are reviewed to meet legislative requirements
  • a procedure for administering medication is developed
  • the complaints policy is strengthened.

7 Recommendations

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education consider providing support for the board and principal to bring about improvements in the following areas:

  • policy and procedure development and review
  • professional leadership
  • improve teaching and learning including more effective use of student achievement data
  • curriculum development
  • evaluation, inquiry and knowledge building.

The board should seek support of the New Zealand School Trustees Association to assist trustees to understand their governance role.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

27 January 2017

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 23, Male 21

Ethnic composition





Review team on site

October 2016

Date of this report

27 January 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

April 2014

February 2011

December 2007