Horohoro School - 02/05/2018

School Context

Horohoro School caters for students in Years 1 to 8 and is situated 15 km southwest of Rotorua. The roll of 54 students includes 50 who identify as Māori. Local children make up 23% of the roll. Many other children travel from Rotorua each day and have close links with the school and either Rongomaipapa Marae or Kearoa Marae. Many families have long-standing links to the school. 

Since the previous 2014 ERO review, the board chair, principal, three teachers and an experienced teacher aide have remained in their positions. A new teacher has been recently appointed to the senior class. Teachers have engaged in professional development with the intention of improving student achievement in writing and mathematics in response to identified student needs. They have also undertaken post-graduate training in the use of digital devices as tools for learning. 

The school has an established bicultural tradition and strong links with local hapū Ngāti Kea and Ngāti Tuara. Trustees support the principal and teachers in promoting te reo me ngā tikanga Māori along with an awareness and understanding of the history of their local district and community. The charter emphasises the school’s motto of kia kaha, kia manawanui. All students participate regularly in kapa haka and waiata. Teaching programmes prioritise raising achievement in literacy and numeracy, along with student wellbeing and physical activity.

The 2014 ERO report noted many areas of good performance, particularly in the areas of culture, effective teaching and leadership. It also identified the need for improvement in achievement in writing, consultation about curriculum review and trustee training. In response to that review, the school has strengthened its consultation with the community and continues to engage in professional learning and development to improve writing achievement.

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

  • reading, writing and mathematics.

Evaluation Findings

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 responding well to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration.

As the roll is small and most students are Māori, it is difficult to determine disparity between ethnicities. School-wide data for 2017 shows that the majority of students are achieving national expectations for their year levels. However, achievement in writing is considerably lower than achievement in reading and mathematics. Girls achieve better than boys in reading and mathematics and significantly better in writing. 

Writing achievement has been a continual challenge for the school. In previous years, targeted teacher professional development has had a positive impact but this has not been sustained. In response to low achievement in writing in 2017, teachers plan to engage in further professional development to address this issue.  

In 2017, the school introduced the progress and consistency tool (PaCT) to ensure consistent and objective teacher judgements in mathematics. There are plans to continue this initiative to better ensure consistency and moderation of teachers’ assessments in reading and writing. 

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

The school is effective in accelerating the progress and achievement of Māori and other students who need this.

School data shows that in 2017, the majority of Māori boys who remained at the school all year made accelerated progress in writing, even though some did not reach year level expectations. In reading and mathematics most students who were achieving below expectations for their year levels made accelerated progress through the year.

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?

Bicultural practices that promote equity and excellence are very effectively embedded in the culture of the school. A strong sense of whakawhanaungatanga and manaakitanga permeate school-wide interactions and relationships. Rich iwi and hapū history is highly visible in the environment. Teachers and trustees have strong associations with local iwi and hapū, who make significant contributions to support teachers in improving student achievement. Te reo me ngā tikanga are well integrated within daily class programmes. Students participate with enthusiasm in kapa haka, waiata and other cultural activities. These factors support Māori to learn and enjoy success as Māori.

Effective culturally responsive teaching practices enhance student learning. These include maintaining positive relationships, providing authentic, meaningful learning contexts, and continual reflection on the effectiveness of teaching programmes. Well-considered and very effective use of teacher-aide support facilitates transition to school and accelerates progress for at-risk students when they start school. Students benefit from settled, well managed classes. They have effective, sufficient opportunities to learn.

Regular communication with whānau, iwi and the wider community strengthens reciprocal, responsive relationships. Teachers know students and whānau well. Families and visitors are made to feel welcome as active participants in the life of the school. Whānau appreciate formal and informal opportunities to discuss students’ learning and progress. The school proactively draws on community resources to enhance student learning. 

The experienced principal collaboratively develops and pursues the school’s vision to raise achievement for all students. He maintains positive school-wide social, behavioural and environmental expectations that support learning and wellbeing. He also contributes knowledge and expertise to the wider education community. Staff leadership is encouraged and developed. Trustees, leaders and teachers maintain a continual focus on equitable outcomes for all students.

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

Annual targets should focus more specifically on accelerating achievement for all at-risk students in reading, writing and mathematics. 

Curriculum guidelines should include expectations for teaching and learning in all areas of The New Zealand Curriculum along with shared and agreed understandings about teaching practice gained from professional development opportunities.

Assessment practices should involve the use of learning progressions by teachers, students, and whānau. Students should be empowered to use this information to manage and monitor their own learning.

The school’s internal evaluation framework needs to be strengthened to include systematic curriculum review with next steps and associated action plans.

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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to consultation about the school’s health curriculum.

In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  1. consult with its community every two years about the contents of the school’s health curriculum and programmes.
    [Education Act 1989, S. 60B]

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • culturally responsive relationships and practices that support Māori students to be confident and successful learners
  • effective teaching that promotes engagement and achievement
  • strong partnerships with whānau, local iwi and hapū that support learning
  • collaborative leadership that fosters the development and sharing of teacher strengths and expertise.

Next steps

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

  • governance processes to improve annual target setting and promote succession
  • curriculum development to provide agreed expectations for teaching and learning
  • the use of assessment information to empower students to manage their own learning
  • internal evaluation processes and practices to ensure continuous improvement. 

[ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders.]

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education or New Zealand School Trustees Association consider providing support for the school in order to bring about improvement in:

  • governance specific to the needs and requirements of this board and its community.  

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

ERO is likely to carry out the next external evaluation in three years. 

Lynda Pura-Watson
Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

2 May 2018

About the school 



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys      30
Girls       24

Ethnic composition

Māori                   50
Pākehā                   4

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

February 2018

Date of this report

2 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review September 2014
Education Review May 2011
Education Review May 2008