Hohepa School - 14/06/2012


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

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.

2 Criteria for Registration

Hohepa Home School is a fully registered, private school catering for students from 7 to 21 years, who have special requirements for their care and education. The Rudolf Steiner philosophy underpins the vision, values and curriculum. At the time of this review, 32 students aged 10 to 21 years were enrolled at the residential school from around New Zealand.

The school’s manager has attested that the school complies with the provisions of section 35G in respect to there being fit and proper persons to manage the school.

Suitable Premises and Equipment

Since the April 2009 ERO review, an attractive, purpose-built facility has been completed which integrates well with the administration block finished in 2009. Designed to last well into the future, the facility has many multi-purpose rooms. Staff are able to use spaces flexibly, and they are responsive to students’ special learning, developmental and social needs. Well designed rooms allow for group or individual work spaces, specialist and therapy rooms. Displays reflect student learning and work in progress and students can revisit their previous experiences. The facility also includes a state of the art sensory room.

Within the building, students and staff share cooked lunches in the dining room. Children can develop a sense of familiarity with rhythms and routines.

Outdoor spaces allow for learning to meet particular needs, with playground, outdoor classroom, and land-based activities. Learning is focused on the natural world and real-life contexts.

Premises and equipment have been adapted to accommodate the increasingly complex needs of some students. The school is suitably resourced to deliver the curriculum and meet these and other students' needs.

Suitable Curriculum

Rudolf Steiner philosophy underpins teaching and learning approaches and programme content. Planning also has increasing links to The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) and Te Whāriki. NZC key competencies are incorporated into individual development plans as key capacities.

Literacy and mathematics progress is planned and assessed using the expanded framework specially developed by the Central Region Special Schools Administration Cluster (CRSSAC). Being involved with the cluster has supported curriculum leaders develop more consistency in how staff teach, assess and moderate student achievement. Targets for literacy and numeracy are set within Level 1. Goals are set for each student in relation to baseline data.

The school annual plan identifies priorities and expected outcomes for teaching and learning and student success. Social, intellectual and vocational needs are treated holistically. Some aspects of the curriculum reflect New Zealand’s bicultural heritage. Students make increasing use of Information and communication technologies (ICT) tools to extend their learning experiences.

Transitions are carefully managed, both into school and classroom, and for placements beyond schooling. Older students make good use of specially designed workbooks, practical activities and real-life experiences. Teachers identify strengths and potential in all students and plan programmes to support learning, social development and progress. Staff design individualised pathways to suit students transitioning into employment or other adult destinations. A focus on inclusion and engagement with the wider community enables many students to successfully participate in productive work after leaving school.

Families have opportunities to contribute to students' individual development plans. These plans and assessments keep families informed about progress. A school parent advisory group contributes to review of school operations and the residential homes. The prospectus and newsletters covering the term’s educational programme and events also keep parents informed about their children’s experiences.

The school has identified the need to review curriculum statements and documents. ERO agrees.

Suitable Staffing

Teacher registrations and Limited Authority to Teach (LAT) licences are kept current. A number of teachers have provisional registration or hold LATs. They are supported towards full registration. There is a comprehensive induction programme for new staff which includes training about the special character of the school. Behaviour management appropriate for some of the complex high needs of students is revisited every two years for all staff.

The performance management of staff has been reviewed and includes current professional standards for teaching. The process is based on a four stage pyramid and demonstrates a sound review cycle which includes teacher reflection and appropriately logged meetings and discussions. Teacher aides are appraised annually.

The curriculum leader is involved in professional development with teachers to upskill on curriculum changes and use of ICT. Curriculum statements have been developed for the implementation of literacy and mathematics programmes. This has been an ongoing development since the last review.

Professional learning and development (PLD) is wide ranging covering philosophy, curriculum, ICT, special education and health. A next step is to align PLD more closely to individual teacher professional needs.

Suitable Tuition

Staff demonstrate caring, responsive and respectful relationships with students. Success for individual learners is a strong focus. Teachers effectively provide multi-level learning opportunities to suit individual interests, preferences and abilities of each student. They scaffold student learning, make good use of picture enhancement communication system (PECS), signing, and make connections with prior experiences. Clear routines and expectation for behaviour focus on student engagement and learning. Staff have plans and programmes appropriate to student needs.

High staff to student ratios allow close supervision and contribute to a calm, secure atmosphere for learning.

Close links and understanding exist between teachers and teacher aides. Daily class staff meetings meetings communicate planning and effectively include teacher aides in learning activities. Teachers and teacher aides, together, play an important role catering for individual student complex learning and developmental needs. Individual Development Plans (IDPs), incorporate individual educational, therapy, and risk management plans. They provide a holistic picture of student strengths, goals, and next development steps, both for school and residential home. This connectedness supports consistent student behaviour and progress.

A well-documented, comprehensive system operates for identifying, monitoring and assessing individual student need and progress. Student assessment data from multiple sources, feeds into student profiles. Achievement and progress is reported to parents and management.

The school is now collating schoolwide data to report annually against set targets in literacy and mathematics. Teachers are increasingly using ICT to streamline the collection of data. Class-based data shows student progress against their goals. Most students are reaching their IDP goals.

Staff demonstrate through their actions and student records that they have a significant impact on the learning, development and welfare of the students. This is done through the provision of appropriate programmes, therapies, interventions and safety measures.

3 Other Statutory Obligations

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

4 Other Matters

Provision for students in the school hostel

Hohepa Home School has seven separate residential homes accommodating 31 students (97% of the roll). The homes are owned by the Hohepa Regional Trust Board.

Residential homes operate to meet the wide range of needs of each individual. Students access well-maintained, multi-purpose spaces both inside and outdoors. Small groups of students live in each residence and each room is set up to cater for identified special needs. Students and adults work together to create a family atmosphere.

A hostel coordinator oversees a team of house parents and support staff who work in close cooperation 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.

5 Conclusion

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

Joyce Gebbie National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

14 June 2012

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Composite (Years 1 to 15)



School roll


Gender composition

Male 25, Female 7

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā


Other ethnic groups




Special Features

Private Special Residential School

Review team on site

April 2012

Date of this report

14 June 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Private School Review

Private School Review

Private School Review

April 2009

September 2006

September 2003