Elstow-Waihou Combined School - 25/10/2011

1 Context

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

Elstow-Waihou Combined School is located nine kilometres north-west of Te Aroha and is a full primary catering for Years 1 to 8 students. The school has a rural family atmosphere and there are high levels of parent involvement.

Since the last ERO review, the charter has been reviewed following extensive consultation and students are benefiting from being part of a successful Enviro school. The student roll has declined due to changes in the rural sector. There has been a strong focus on self review, including reflective practice as an important component for improving teaching and learning.

The school’s mission statement is ‘together, we will maximise our potential and empower ourselves for lifelong learning’. The newly developed vision 'reach for the stars' is underpinned by the values of success, trust, attitude and respect, which are evident throughout the school.

The school is characterised by stable leadership and staffing, and its commitment to meeting individual students' learning needs. There is a major focus on developing the holistic well-being of all students within a caring and supportive school community.

2 Learning

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

The school’s achievement information about reading, writing and mathematics indicates that a high proportion of students are achieving at or above expected levels in relation to National Standards, and that most students are making significant progress in these curriculum areas.

The school is delivering high quality educational opportunities for students. Knowledgeable teachers use a range of effective teaching strategies and successfully provide high quality learning environments. Students are able to articulate their achievements and are being assisted to take increased responsibility for their learning.

Appropriate and effective intervention programmes, particularly in the students' early years at school, are targeting identified needs. Assessment practices have been an area for development in 2010/2011 in order to incorporate the National Standards into the school’s processes and procedures.

High levels of student engagement are evident. Teachers are effectively using assessment information to provide relevant and challenging classroom programmes. Students experience success in a wide range of sporting and cultural activities.

How well does the school promote Māori student success and success as Māori?

There are a small number of Māori students at this school. In 2010 school-wide achievement information shows that Māori students are achieving as well as their peers in reading, writing and mathematics. The senior management team and staff are committed to improving Māori student achievement, and data shows that these students are making expected progress over time.

ERO and the school have identified that the next steps for the school are to continue to:

  • empower students to take greater responsibility for their own learning
  • review reporting of student achievement in relation to National Standards so that parents can more easily interpret this information
  • fully integrate Māori perspectives into classroom programmes, interactions and environments.

3 Curriculum

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

Elstow-Waihou School curriculum successfully promotes and supports student engagement and learning. Following extensive review and consultation with its community, the school has designed a curriculum to cater for the diverse learning abilities of students.

Teachers are hard working, reflective and open to continually improving their practice. They demonstrate good knowledge and understanding about a variety of techniques and approaches to teaching and learning. Notable features of the school curriculum that successfully promote student learning include:

  • high expectations for learning and achievement
  • teaching strategies such as modelling, questioning and small group activities
  • opportunities for students to be actively involved in learning
  • positive, mutually respectful teacher/student interactions
  • visually stimulating and supportive learning environments
  • comprehensive individual portfolios that are used to report student progress and achievement.

The school is committed to providing a safe physical and emotional environment, and students benefit from a wide range of leadership opportunities.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Key indicators include:

  • the knowledgeable, experienced principal who provides effective leadership and a clear focus for ongoing school improvement and direction
  • effective governance led by an experienced chairperson and well-informed trustees who contribute complementary knowledge and skills to school governance, and maintain a focus on raising student achievement
  • the development of a comprehensive charter that provides clear direction and measurable targets to improve student achievement
  • a collaborative approach by management and teachers to school-review practices that focus on improving student engagement, progress and achievement
  • inclusive decision-making and open communication between staff, students and their families.

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 four-to-five years.

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

25 October 2011

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)



School roll


Gender composition

Girls 48%

Boys 52%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā NZ


Cook Island Māori






Review team on site

September 2011

Date of this report

25 October 2011

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2008

September 2005

June 2002