Horotiu School - 06/08/2012

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Horotiu School is located north of Hamilton, close to the town of Ngāruawāhia. The school is proud of its long history and place in the community. Many Māori and Pākehā families have connections with the school that span several generations.

The school is well supported by its community. Parents, students and staff appreciate the family-like atmosphere where children feel safe and value opportunities to interact and learn alongside older and younger peers.

Since ERO’s 2009 Education Review, the principal and staff have maintained their involvement in the Performance Enhancement in North Waikato (PEN) cluster initiative. This is having a significantly positive influence on the quality of teaching practice and student achievement. Through this involvement the principal and senior staff are providing effective professional support and leadership for Horotiu and other schools in the cluster.

2 Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

The vast majority of students are achieving at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics, according to data reported to the board and Ministry of Education in 2011. Students make good learning progress as they move through the school.

Student achievement information is regularly gathered, collated and analysed for effective use by the board of trustees, senior leaders and teachers to improve student learning. School targets are based on a range of achievement data, and focused on identified areas where levels of student achievement need to be raised.

Students needing additional support are well catered for with skilled teacher-aide support in classrooms and programmes specifically designed to meet their learning needs. The school is taking a systematic, planned approach to reviewing and improving writing programmes across the school.

Further review and development of written reports for individual students is needed. In the junior school, leaders and teachers need to consider and decide how reports can show each student’s progress and achievement at the end of their first, second and third year of schooling. There is also the need to include more specific information about how parents can support children’s learning at home. These suggestions could be linked to school initiatives for further strengthening learning partnerships and parents' understanding of teaching approaches and strategies.

3 Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

The school’s curriculum is highly effective in supporting and promoting student learning in meaningful contexts. It provides a wide range of learning opportunities that engage all learners. The curriculum particularly emphasises the importance of literacy, numeracy, te reo and tikanga Māori, physical activity, nutrition and environmental sustainability.

Teachers set high expectations and use a range of strategies that encourage students to take increasing responsibility for their own learning. Their relationships and interactions with students are respectful, positive and supportive. Classroom environments are organised to be highly functional and attractive to support learning programmes.

Students benefit from the way teachers use assessment information to plan programmes that best meet the needs of groups and individual students.

Planned review and further development of the school’s curriculum will provide an important opportunity to examine the values, principles and key competencies from The New Zealand Curriculum and how best to reflect these at Horotiu School.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

The school strongly promotes educational success for Māori students as Māori. These learners enjoy success in academic, cultural and sporting activities, and are fully engaged in school life. The vast majority of Māori students are achieving at or above the National Standards for reading, writing and mathematics, and at similar levels to other students in the school.

There are specific plans, strategies and targets to support and promote the success of Māori students. Reciprocal relationships among parents, whānau, iwi and the school are active and fundamental to maintaining the presence of Māori, and contribute to educational success for Māori students.

Features of school programmes that particularly interest and motivate Māori students include pōwhiri, marae visits, kapa haka, waka kopapa, and other learning contexts that reflect Māori culture and perspectives. There are many opportunities to participate in the visual and performing arts.

To promote further educational success for Māori students, teachers should continue to develop their confidence, knowledge and skills in weaving te reo and tikanga Māori throughout classroom and school programmes. This would reflect and sustain the school’s commitment to valuing the language and heritage of tangata whenua.

4 Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

Horotiu School is very well placed to sustain and continue to improve its performance. The contributing factors are:

  • a well-led board of committed and knowledgeable trustees, who focus on student achievement and school improvement
  • the strong professional leadership by the principal, who is well supported by senior leaders and staff
  • the meaningful partnership with whānau, hapu and iwi Māori
  • a culture that seeks continuous improvement at all levels through reflection, inquiry and professional learning
  • an understanding and appreciation of the importance of evidence-based self review by trustees, senior leaders and teachers
  • a long-serving and effective principal and teaching team, who are highly reflective and focused on best teaching practice
  • a culture of inclusion where diversity is celebrated
  • the strong community support and members’ contribution to the school.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review.

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:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial management
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services Northern Region (Acting)

6 August 2012

About the School


Horotiu, near Ngaruawahia

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)



School roll


Gender composition

Boys 51% Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ Pākehā/European

NZ Māori

Cook Island Māori





Other Ethnicity









Review team on site

May 2012

Date of this report

6 August 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2009

September 2006

July 2003