Hira School - 07/06/2016

1 Context

Hira School is an enviro school, focusing on sustainable environmental practice and building children’s knowledge through practical experiences. Te ao Māori is valued and well integrated into all aspects of school life.

Children benefit from strong community involvement in school, classroom activities and decision making processes. Many families have been involved in the school for a number of generations.

Since the 2013 ERO review, the school has had four changes in principal, the most recent appointment in 2016. There has also been a number of changes in board members. The majority of staff members are long serving and have a good knowledge of the children, their families and the wider community.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are clearly stated within its Māori values that encourage all children to demonstrate Manaakitanga (kindness and respect), Kaitiakitanga (guardianship), Manawaroa (resilience) and Kotahitanga (working and learning together). The school’s expectations are for children to value their own skills and gifts, and to be responsive and caring members of society.

The school’s achievement information shows that most children achieve at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Māori children achieve as well or better than their peers in writing and mathematics but less well in reading.

Since the 2013 review, the school has improved its reporting against the National Standards.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is making good progress in identifying, responding and accelerating the progress of Māori children who are at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes.

Leaders and teachers establish good relationships with Māori children and their families/whānau. They ensure they maintain regular contact with parents and whānau and involve them in decisions about their child’s learning, culture and wellbeing.

Teachers use a suitable range of assessment tools to make judgements about student achievement in relation to the National Standards. Children’s achievement information is collated and analysed. Programmes to meet the needs of those Māori children at risk of not achieving National Standards are recorded on a register. Teachers’ indepth knowledge of each child and use of a range of teaching approaches have resulted in a number of Māori children making accelerated progress. The next step is to review learning goals and programmes for individual children to ensure they address the specific learning needs. This should help teachers evaluate and report on the effectiveness of the programmes in accelerating achievement for individual children.

To further accelerate the achievement of Māori children, school leaders and teachers should consider more indepth reporting on children’s progress and achievement in other curriculum areas. This would ensure individual children’s strengths, interests and cultural knowledge are recognised.

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school responds to other children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration in the same way it responds to Māori children.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The school provides children with rich and vibrant curriculum experiences that engage them in meaningful learning. However, the curriculum document has yet to be updated to include the school's expectations for learning and teaching, bicultural inclusion and the integration of the New Zealand and local curriculum.

The school values of Manaakitanga, Kaitiakitanga, Manawaroa and Kotahitanga are well integrated into all aspects of school life. Teachers naturally include the values in their class programmes. Children regularly refer to how well they are applying the values within class and their interactions with each other in and beyond the school.

Te ao Māori is clearly evident in relationships, class programmes, school and social events. Children and teachers have a good knowledge of te reo and tikanga Māori. They regularly engage with the wider Māori community to extend their knowledge and ensure the appropriate Māori protocols are followed. Children are proud of their knowledge of te reo and tikanga Māori and confidently share it with others.

Strong, positive and affirming relationships at all levels are a feature of the school. Children are inclusive and understanding of others. Parents regularly participate in their children’s learning, school programmes and decision making for the school. Parents were actively involved in the development of the school strategic plan.

Children enjoy learning through a wide variety of experiences within the school and beyond. There is a strong emphasis on caring for the school and local environments. Teachers skilfully build on children’s interests and what they already know. Many opportunities are provided for children to practically apply their new knowledge and skills in a range of situations.

Children know about some aspects of their learning. However, there is potential for them to have more choices in their learning pathways.

The board used well-developed and inclusive appointment processes that support the culture and direction of the school when they appointed the principal. Carefully considered and planned leadership decisions, and the collaborative working relationships between the senior leadership team and teachers is allowing well-managed change to occur.

The recently completed strategic plan provides clear direction for school improvement in all areas of governance, management, teaching and learning. Plans are in place to regularly review and report progress towards achieving the charter goals.

The principal is working towards embedding a more robust appraisal process to ensure all the criteria for teachers to maintain their practising certificates are covered and the school strategic goals are met to a high standard.

A key next step for the school is to establish a robust process of school evaluation at class, school and board levels to ensure the quality of learning and teaching is recognised, and school systems are well implemented and improvements are ongoing.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how teaching is working for these children
  • do not always or systematically act on what they know works for each child
  • have a plan in place but have not yet built teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should use the findings of this evaluation, the Effective School Evaluation resource, the Internal Evaluation: Good Practice exemplars and the School Evaluation Indicators to develop a Raising Achievement Plan to further develop processes and practices that respond effectively to the strengths and needs of children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated.

As part of this review, ERO will continue to monitor the school’s Raising Achievement plan and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full review in three years.

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • 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

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014 

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

7 June 2016 

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 33; Boys 29

Ethnic composition



Other ethnicities




Review team on site

April 2016

Date of this report

7 June 2016

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2013

May 2009

June 2006