Awanui School - 30/03/2015


Awanui School promotes student learning and engagement well. In January 2015 a new principal was employed and together with the board is focused on strengthening teaching and learning. The board is confidently led by an experienced board chair. Self review has been identified as a priority to support school improvement.

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?

Awanui School, near Kaitaia in the Far North, is a small and long-established school for students in Years 1-6. Several generations of some families have attended the school and continue with their support. Ninety five percent of students are Māori. The board of trustees has good Māori representation and the school enjoys close relationships with Ngai Takoto, the local iwi.

2014 was a challenging year for the school. The principal took sick leave for most of the first half of the year and then resigned in July 2014. The board of trustees and the acting principal ensured that the school continued to function. A new principal was appointed in January 2015.

The school employs three fulltime staff including the teaching principal and a teacher aide. External agencies support the transient school population. The roll numbers are maintained around 50 students.

2 Learning

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

Awanui School uses student achievement information well to make positive changes to learners' engagement, progress and achievement. Teachers monitor students’ progress over the year in reading and mathematics.

Publicly available information suggests that half of all students are achieving at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. This implies that there has been a decrease in achievement compared with the 2013 results. The principal has begun to review the accuracy of student achievement information reported to the board and parents. She has identified the next step is to develop a shared understanding with teachers and parents and whānau of the National Standards levels and expectations for reporting. It could be useful for the principal to report information about students’ progress with National Standards over their time at school to the board. This could enable them to make more targeted resourcing decisions.

Students are confident and articulate and they enjoy positive relationships with adults and their classmates. They are well engaged at their tasks in class. Teachers have high expectations for students’ learning and use data from the previous year to begin the new year in a timely manner. Teachers share progress and achievement information with the students and together they set individual achievement targets. These strategies help students to work purposefully towards achieving expectations.

The principal and the board of trustees place high importance on students attending school each day. The principal reports rates of attendance to the board and to parents and whānau. The board is considering further strategies to continue increasing the number of days that students are at school.

Students have positive tuakana teina relationships with each other. Good outcomes from teachers participation in professional development focused on positive behaviours for learning are apparent. Parents and whānau appreciate the good relationships that they and their children have with teachers and feel that this helps their children’s learning to progress.

The community has responded positively to the board’s initiatives to increase parent participation in their child’s learning. They have strongly supported teachers and their children, whose achievement has been identified in the school’s goals.

Parents and whānau, teachers and students talk about students' progress with their goals as a way of further strengthening parent partnerships with the school. Parents and whānau receive two written reports per year. The principal has begun to review these to improve their accuracy and readability for whānau.

3 Curriculum

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

The curriculum is somewhat effective in promoting and supporting student learning.

Awanui School’s curriculum is aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum. It is planned by teachers with a little input from students. The principal recognises that the next step is to design and implement an Awanui School Inquiry Learning model so students will be able to have greater ownership of and contribute to the school’s curriculum.

The board has an increased emphasis on providing information and communication technologies (ICT) for students. Teachers demonstrate an understanding of the place of ICT tools in enriching and enhancing teaching and learning programmes.

Teachers have access to a wide range of appropriate professional learning opportunities. Many programmes available for 2014 were unable to be implemented due to interruptions that were beyond the school’s control. The school will be encouraging teachers to critically review the effectiveness of their teaching practices on students’ progress and achievement to strengthen teaching and learning school-wide.

The school’s special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) promotes many opportunities to support the progress of students requiring extra support. Through the SENCO’s regular reports, the board is able to provide appropriate resourcing to support her work.

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

While some existing practices support Māori student achievement and progress, the school is yet to establish plans to strengthen the provision for Māori success as Māori. The school has a partnership with Ngai Takoto to deliver te reo Māori in class but this initiative is yet to begin due to the 2014 circumstances.

Students are developing skills in powhiri and waiata. The board has a strategic intent to reinstate kapa haka learning and practice at the school.

Teachers are slowly developing their confidence with implementing te reo Māori into daily class practice. Teachers could consider using Tau Mai Te Reo, The Ministry of Education (MoE) Māori Language in Education Strategy 2013 – 2017, in curriculum planning.

Parents and whānau surveyed by the school asked for more te reo Māori and cultural awareness in the school curriculum. The board is considering implementing the MoE document Tātaiako, Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Students, into the school’s appraisal system. This could support teachers to increasing their knowledge of te ao Māori and gain confidence to integrate tikanga Māori into the school curriculum.

The implementation of these strategies could support increased success for Māori students as Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Awanui School is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Board members are relatively new to their board role and are led by an experienced board chair. Members have undertaken some board training and would benefit from participating in more training as it is made available. Trustees are developing a board manual to guide effective governance practices. They could also revise the board code of conduct and align it to the manual.

Trustees receive student achievement information twice per year. This information could be more useful to them if it had accompanying comment as to the impact of specific strategies on student’s progress towards National Standards. Board decision making could also be better informed through regular reporting from the principal on progress towards the school’s strategic goals.

Regular self review undertaken by the board has focused on reviewing board policies and procedures. These practices could now be extended to include an in-depth analysis of the effectiveness of curriculum decisions on improving outcomes for students learning.

The principal’s monitoring of staff practices for ongoing improvement is effective. All staff, including ancillary staff, are regularly appraised. The principal is appraised by the board chair and an external appraiser on a two-yearly cycle. The appraisal process aligns well with the registered teacher criteria. Aligning the principal’s appraisal with the school’s strategic goals would enhance this performance management process and promote strategic development.

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.

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should be assured of and attest to the rigour of the risk analysis and management for all overnight excursions.


Awanui School promotes student learning and engagement well. In January 2015 a new principal was employed and together with the board is focused on strengthening teaching and learning. The board is confidently led by an experienced board chair. Self review has been identified as a priority to support school improvement.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

30 March 2015

About the School


Awanui, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 22 Girls 18

Ethnic composition







Special Features

Base School for SWIS

Review team on site

February 2015

Date of this report

30 March 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2012

June 2008

June 2007