Dargaville Intermediate - 26/06/2013

1 Context

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

Tēnā koutou te kura o te takawaenga o Dargaville, arā te poari, ngā mātua, te tumuaki, ngā kaiako me ngā tamariki. He mihi nei ki a koutou e pou kaha ana kia whai ai te mātauranga mō ō koutou tamariki.

Dargaville Intermediate School serves a wide geographical area in the Northern Wairoa district. The school continues to be an important part of the community. Many whānau have inter-generational connections with the school. They are highly engaged in the school with significant numbers supporting cultural and sporting events. A high percentage of whānau attend meetings to discuss students’ learning, progress and achievement with the children and their teachers

Since the 2010 ERO report a new principal has been appointed and the school roll has grown. There has been a significant increase in Māori students. The school caters for students in composite Years 7 and 8 classes. Students benefit from a settled and positive school tone. They are keen and willing learners and enjoy positive relationships with each other, as well as with the principal and staff.

A purposeful transition programme is provided for new students. This programme aims to support students’ entry into the school and build tuakana/teina relationships among students. Special features of the school’s setting include the well resourced technology teaching spaces, the learning hub centred in the library and the productive school gardens.

2 Learning

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

School achievement information in relation to the National Standards shows that students achieve well, particularly in reading, with some students making accelerated progress. School data also indicate that overall, Māori students progress and achieve well.

Currently teachers rely heavily on achievement data taken from the literacy and mathematics programmes. School leaders are exploring ways to develop teachers’ capacity to draw on a wider range of information from learning areas across the curriculum. This good practice would help to strengthen the overall teacher judgements in relation to the National Standards.

Achievement information is used purposefully. Teachers group students according to their learning needs and progress. School leaders collect information about student achievement levels in reading, writing and mathematics. The data gathered help them to identify achievement targets to raise the level of overall student achievement and to focus teachers’ professional development.

Regular reports on student achievement are presented to the board. Charter targets are appropriately focused on accelerating the progress of students not meeting National Standards. ERO affirms the principal’s intent to refine the school’s assessment practice and processes. This would provide better information for setting more specific and measurable targets aimed at accelerating the progress and achievement of groups of students who are not achieving.

Whanau receive useful information about their children’s progress and achievement. Further work is needed to ensure that plain language is used when reporting to parents in relation to the National Standards.

3 Curriculum

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

The school curriculum is effective in promoting and supporting student learning. Students are actively engaged in learning and are able to work independently and collaboratively. They use achievement information to set their own learning goals. Classroom environments are planned to support learning and reflect the value placed on student work.

The curriculum is aligned to the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) and it is designed to fit the school’s context. The school’s vision and values are clearly defined, well-embedded and meaningful to students.

Students benefit from a curriculum that has a strong focus on building basic learning skills. They participate in a range of curriculum, leadership, cultural and sporting activities. A feature of the curriculum is the speciality programmes, which provide additional opportunities for students to use their literacy and mathematical skills in relevant and practical contexts. Students are re-grouped into specialty classes for technology, language, science, music, art, social sciences and physical education and health. Strengthening the inquiry learning approach in the speciality programme is an area for further development identified by school leaders and staff. Careers education is integrated throughout the specialty programmes.

Teachers are highly collegial and willingly share their expertise. Well planned professional learning underpins curriculum development and supports teachers to make continual improvements in their practice.

The principal and teachers have identified and ERO agree that increasing opportunities for students to take a greater lead in their learning is a next step. It could now be helpful to develop a set of agreed school-wide expectations of teaching practice that promotes self managing learners.

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

Māori students comprise 53 per cent of the school roll. Since the 2010 ERO report a new charter and strategic plan have been developed encompassing Ngā Whare Tapa Whā model. This model incorporates the four dimensions of health: the spiritual side (taha wairua), thoughts and feelings (taha hinengaro), the physical side (taha tinana), and the extended family (taha whānau).

Tikanga Māori is well respected and has a place within the school. Students and staff take pride in the recognition and acknowledgement of Māori values. They practice tikanga and are actively involved in partnership with the community as kaitiaki o Papatūānuku.

Local Māori history is taught and kaupapa Māori is included across the curriculum. Identity, language and culture are expressed proudly by Māori students through a well-established kapa haka group. Performances are held in the school and the community.

The principal and teachers use te reo Māori throughout the school. Exploring ways to further enhance teachers’ use of te reo Māori could help them to build their confidence and skill provide a sequential te reo Māori programme for students.

The school continues to build supportive relationships with the Māori community mainly through informal consultation. Establishing a whānau committee could be a useful strategy for providing a greater voice for the Māori community.

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. The principal provides reflective and responsive leadership and guides ongoing school improvement. The experienced senior team provide cohesive leadership and positively influence and motivate staff.

Teachers are committed to strengthening their practice and are benefiting from the recently implemented mentoring programme. School leaders and teachers work collaboratively to promote success for all learners.

Performance management systems promote improvements to teaching practice. Teachers are given opportunities for leadership. These good practices are sustaining and building educational leadership capability.

The senior leadership team could benefit from support to help them strengthen their shared leadership roles in implementing the agreed next steps for school improvement identified in this report.

Trustees have complementary skills and a sound knowledge of good employment practices. The board and school leaders work well together to improve outcomes for students. The board values the work of teachers and support staff.

Self-review processes could be strengthened to monitor the impact of changes more effectively and to build greater coherence across school operations. The board could receive more evaluative information about student progress and achievement, and about the effectiveness of improvement initiatives linked to the strategic plan. ERO and trustees agree that with the election of a new board, it would be useful to seek board training to improve the quality of governance systems.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey National Manager Review Services Northern Region

26 June 2013

About the School


Dargaville, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā







Review team on site

April 2013

Date of this report

26 June 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2010

May 2007

December 2003