Waitoki School - 26/10/2012

1. Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Waitoki School is a semi-rural school north of Auckland. It caters for 75 students in Years 1 to 8, three of whom identify as Māori. The school roll is increasing after dropping at the end of 2011. A new principal and teacher were appointed at the beginning of 2012. The environment for students and staff has been significantly improved with the completion of an administration block, hall and library in 2011. Buildings are well maintained and set in spacious grounds.

The school’s vision is to provide quality learning opportunities where all students experience success and can be ‘the best they can be’. Students are encouraged to achieve as confident, responsible, life-long learners, within a curriculum that reflects and celebrates local resources.

The Ministry of Education has provided valuable support with staffing ratios and relevant professional development for the board of trustees and teachers. Teachers and students have benefited from a focus on raising achievement in writing, and teaching practices that support students to take greater responsibility for their learning.

The school has made good progress in addressing the recommendations and actions in the 2010 ERO review.

2. Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Students spoken to during the review were confident, articulate and eager to share their achievements and successes. They were engaged and interested in their learning.

Teachers use an appropriate range of assessment tools to gather information about achievement. This information shows that most students make expected progress in reading, writing and mathematics. The school reports that end of year data gathered in 2011 showed that a significant majority of students, including Māori, achieved at or above National Standards in these areas. Achievement information is regularly reported to the board and used to establish realistic targets. Teachers make good use of data to monitor individual student progress. They now need to analyse this data to better inform planning for groups and individuals.

Students requiring support are identified and provided with appropriate targeted programmes in class with their teachers and withdrawal programmes with specialists. The school reports that these students make good progress over the year.

A recent initiative is the opportunity for identified students to accelerate their learning by participating in advanced courses in more senior classes in mathematics, reading and writing.

Three-way conferences is providing students, teachers and parents with opportunities to be increasingly informed about student learning. Parents are now receiving reports against National Standards.

3. Curriculum

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

Waitoki School promotes and supports student learning through a broad-based curriculum with a focus on literacy and numeracy. The principal and teachers are in the process of reviewing and updating curriculum guidelines and expectations.

ERO observed some examples of good teaching practices that include:

  • positive and respectful relationships among teachers and students
  • effective student/teacher conversations
  • students able to work independently on assigned tasks
  • increasing use of success criteria and feedback for students, to support their learning
  • well-presented classroom environments that value students’ learning.

Students have access to a wide range of learning opportunities including electives, education outside the classroom activities, sporting events and involvement in the arts. Senior students have regular access to information and communication technologies for research and presentation of their work. The school makes good use of the local and wider communities for integrated and meaningful learning contexts. Parents provide valuable support for these activities as well as involvement in the Waitoki Parent Support Group, which fundraises for targeted projects.

There is a strong sense of caring and family in the school. Senior students take responsibility for younger students both through buddy and mentoring systems as well as in the playground. A school house system fosters student leadership and this is enhanced through participation in other leadership initiatives such as Young Leaders’ Day, and ensuring that a student voice is a component of school self review.

It is important for the school to continue to integrate and embed professional learning around formative assessment including:

  • analysing student achievement data at classroom level to inform teaching and learning
  • co-construction of learning intentions and success criteria with students
  • strengthening teacher feedback and feed forward to students about their learning
  • ensuring effective use of exemplars
  • increasing opportunities for students to self and peer assess their work
  • strengthening student understanding of their achievement, goals and next steps for learning.

In addition, students would benefit from activities, in their own classrooms, that will challenge, enrich and deepen their thinking and learning.

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

All students, particularly Māori students, are benefitting from increasing tikanga Māori practices. The school has strong and inter-generational family relationships which foster a sense of whanaungatanga for students. The school’s buddy and mentoring system, similar to tuakana-teina relationships, supports leadership in older students and confidence amongst the younger students. Teachers know students and their families well.

The new school buildings were blessed by local kaumātua in 2011. In 2012, the new principal initiated interaction and developed further relationships with kaumātua of the local hapu, Ngati Rongo. The principal has also implemented school-wide self-review processes and a framework to enable the school to set goals and monitor progress towards improving outcomes for students. In addition, she has set expectations for reflecting the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in the school.

Areas for review and development

The principal and ERO agree that important next steps to promote success for Māori, as Māori, are to:

  • fully implement the intent of Ka Hikitia (Ministry of Education’s Māori Education Strategy) and Tātaiako (Ministry of Education’s Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners)
  • continue to develop teacher competence and confidence in the use of te reo and tikanga Māori in classroom environments and programmes
  • implement a sequential te reo Māori programme in the school.

4. Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

ERO considers the school is well placed to sustain its performance because:

  • the board of trustees effectively governs the school
  • the principal is providing strong and effective leadership for learning
  • self review is guided by clear and precise frameworks and processes
  • teachers are improving practice through professional development
  • the community is supportive and well informed
  • there is a safe and inclusive environment.

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
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services Northern Region (Acting)

26 October 2012

About the School


Kaukapakapa, Rodney District

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)



School roll


Gender composition

Boys 47 Girls 28

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

NZ Māori

Cook Island Māori

Other European





Review team on site

September 2012

Date of this report

26 October 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2010

June 2007

May 2005