Hohepa School - 13/06/2016

1 Background

The Chief Review Officer has a statutory duty to report on the performance of private schools throughout New Zealand.

Section 35I of the Education Act 1989, requires the Education Review Office (ERO) to review fully registered private schools, and to report to the Ministry of Education on whether each school continues to meet the criteria for full registration.

This review report was prepared in accordance with standard procedures approved by the Chief Review Officer.

Hohepa School is a fully registered private school catering for students aged from seven to twenty one who have very special requirements for their care and education. Students come from all over New Zealand. Most parents live outside Hawke’s Bay. All students are on the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) which funds extra support through therapy programmes and teacher aides to assist the teachers in the classroom. The Rudolf Steiner philosophy underpins the vision, values and curriculum.

At the time of this ERO review, 44 students were enrolled at the school. Of the students enrolled, 41 reside in the residential houses on the school site.

2 Criteria for Registration

The school’s manager has attested that they comply with the provisions of section 35G in respect to their being fit and proper person to manage the school.

Suitable premises and equipment

The premises and equipment are suitable.

The purpose-built facilities and spacious grounds continue to provide flexibles spaces appropriate to the increasingly complex needs of students.

Suitable equipment and resources are provided to support teachers to deliver the curriculum. Considerable developments have taken place to strengthen information technology infrastructure. The focus on students being physically active has resulted in a new playground, cycle track and solar heating for the swimming pool.

Suitable staffing and tuition standards

The school has suitable staffing. Teachers and specialists are qualified and registered.

A new appraisal system, introduced in 2015, is supportive and developmental. Extensive professional development and learning, both internal and external, ensures that staff keep up-to-date with teaching and health practices.

The school leadership structure has been reviewed and strengthened. Two team leaders for the upper and lower school, a teacher aide team leader and behaviour support position have been established. This leadership structure assists teachers to be more responsive to students' needs. The school employs its own Occupational Therapist and Speech Language Therapist.

A well planned and implemented induction process supports staff and volunteers in their work.

Clear routines and expectations support students’ sense of security. Adults are respectful and responsive and demonstrate they know students well.

Suitable curriculum

The curriculum is suitable, with appropriate guidelines for teaching, learning and assessment.

The Rudolf Steiner philosophy underpins teaching and learning. Clear links are made to The New Zealand Curriculum, key competencies and Te Whāriki - the early childhood curriculum. The recently introduced Rudolf Steiner Māori curriculum is having a positive impact on teaching. Literacy and numeracy are well planned and assessed using the Central Regional Special Schools Framework. Teachers gather student achievement data to set appropriate targets in English, numeracy and key competencies.

The school has focused on strengthening and improving communication strategies to support students' engagement in learning. There is consistency across the school and residential houses with the use of tools such as core communication boards.

Increased planning for students' transitions supports them as they move through the school, residential facilities and into the community or adult facilities. Data sharing between the school and houses has improved.

Parents are well informed about their children’s achievements, safety and wellbeing. Comprehensive information about the curriculum ensures families know and understand the school priorities for their children.

3 Other Obligations

There are good systems in place for the school’s managing body to be assured that its other statutory obligations are met.

Provision for students in the school hostel

Hohepa School has seven separate residential homes accommodating 41 students (93% of the roll). The homes are owned by Hohepa Services Ltd.

Small groups of students live in each residence. This ranges from one student to seven. Careful placement takes into account the particular needs of individuals. Adults work positively with students to create a family atmosphere that reflects their different cultures.

A hostel coordinator oversees a team of house parents and support staff who work closely with teaching staff. Multiple links with health specialists and therapists are well managed. 

The residences are subject to annual audits and quality assurance against legal requirements. Policies and procedures cover all operations and a comprehensive service manual is available.

Sound systems and processes support the care and wellbeing of students.

4 Conclusion

On the basis of the information obtained during the review, ERO considers that Hohepa School meets the criteria for registration as a private school set out in the Education Act 1989. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

13 June 2016

About the School 



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Composite (Years 1 to 13)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 36, Female 8

Ethnic composition



Other ethnic groups




Special Features

Private Special Residential School

Review team on site

April 2016

Date of this report

13 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Private School Review

Private School Review

Private School Review

June 2012

April 2009

September 2006