Haast School - 04/06/2019

School Context

Haast School is a very small, rural primary school in an isolated area of South Westland. It caters for students in Years 1 to 8 and has a current roll of 10. Most students live in the township of Haast and travel to school by bus.

The school’s vision is to grow individuals for the future. The valued outcomes are described through the Haast Hand, and include fun, respect, aroha, determination and curiosity. These values are integrated throughout the school’s curriculum.

The board’s current strategic goals are to: meet individual learning needs; maximise the use of the unique environment; and, foster connections with families and the community.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • curriculum programmes, including key competencies
  • learning related to the three strategic goals.

Since the 2015 ERO review, there have been significant changes of staff, including the teaching principal and part-time teacher, as well as a new board.

A local playgroup meets regularly on the school’s site. This supports children’s transition to school.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is effectively achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for most of its students.

Student achievement information from 2016, 2017 and 2018 shows that most students are achieving at or above expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics.

All students are well supported and benefit from integrated programmes of learning that develop their understanding of the school’s values and the key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school is effectively accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this.

School information for 2018 showed examples of accelerated progress for those students who needed it in reading and writing. A targeted intervention in mathematics in 2018 showed that about half of the students made accelerated progress.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Students benefit from the rich, meaningful learning programmes that support their engagement, social development and sense of belonging. There are many varied and interesting opportunities for them to build on their interests and prior knowledge. These promote greater ownership of learning.

Teachers know students and their families well. They promote a positive and supportive culture that is welcoming and inclusive. Teachers are highly responsive to individual needs, strengths and interests. Students readily receive personalised help with their learning.

Reciprocal collaborations with the community enrich opportunities for students and their learning. Very good use is made of the local environment, including resources and expertise to extend students’ understanding of the unique context they live in. Teachers promote possibilities for student involvement beyond the local environment. Regular contact with schools in the surrounding areas and the wider community, supports their sense of belonging and understanding of their place in the wider world.

School leadership proactively seeks, and effectively makes use of, external expertise and support networks to meet the individual needs of students. There is very good provision of targeted professional learning to continue to build teachers’ capabilities.

The board has worked closely with students, staff and the community to develop the school’s vision and values. The well-considered strategic plan and provision of appropriate resourcing is focused on meeting the identified valued outcomes for students to be successful learners.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

The principal and teacher should refine the ways they analyse and use data to:

  • better understand the achievement and progress of individuals and groups of students over time

  • determine the impact of specific interventions over time

  • inform more detailed reporting to the board and community.

The principal and teacher have identified, and ERO agrees, that they need to continue to extend the ways they reflect and articulate te ao Māori within key school practices and documentation.

Systems that support school operation when managing change need further development. These include:

  • board succession planning

  • recognising the impact on staff workload

  • the development and review of policies and procedures

  • using evaluation to build collective capacity for ongoing improvement.

ERO suggests that the board considers seeking external support to assist it in further developing its governance practice.

Aspects of appraisal need to be strengthened to meet the requirements of the Teaching Council.

3 Board Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the board 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
  • finance
  • 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 and certification
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students
  • attendance
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Haast School performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • provision of rich learning opportunities within and beyond the school
  • community collaboration that supports learning and fosters a strong sense of student connectedness to the school and local community
  • implementing a personalised approach to learning that is responsive to the needs and strengths of individuals.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • refining the analysis, use and reporting of student achievement information
  • developing systems that support school operations when managing change
  • continuing to build bicultural practices across the school.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

4 June 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 6, Boys 4

Ethnic composition

Māori 4

NZ European/Pākehā 5

Other ethnicities 1

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

March 2019

Date of this report

4 June 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review December 2015

Education Review August 2012