Kaihu Valley School - 13/09/2018

School Context

Kaihu Valley School All 16 students are Māori. The local Maori community and marae affiliate to Ngāti Whātua ki Kaipara and/or Te Roroa hapū. The school manages a fluctuating roll.provides education for students in Years 1 to 8 in a small rural community north of Dargaville.

The board’s vision is to create “a place where the dreams of our students are our focus and are achieved with the support of the whole community”. The school values, as poutokomanawa, are underpinned by cultural concepts and promote whakawhanaungatanga, manaakitanga, ūkaipōtanga and kaitiakitanga.

Current achievement targets focus on lifting the achievement of all learners in reading, writing and mathematics. The principal regularly reports to the board on these priority areas.

Since the 2015 ERO review a new principal has been appointed and the school has joined the Northern Wairoa Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako.

Evaluation Findings

1 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?

Since the 2015 ERO report, the school has continued to improve processes that support learners to achieve equitable and excellent outcomes.

Due to the small number of students and a fluctuating roll it is difficult to reliably identify trends and patterns in achievement data. The 2018 mid-year school achievement information shows that most students achieve at or above The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) levels in literacy and mathematics. Most children make progress and some make accelerated progress.

The board’s valued outcomes for students are highly evident in the school’s positive learning culture. Students know each other well and value the tuakana/teina relationships that they have with other students. They have a strong sense of place and belonging.

Whānau report that the school’s inclusive environment is highly responsive to children’s social, emotional and learning needs.

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

The school continues to build its capability to accelerate the learning of those students who need to make accelerated progress. For example:

  • the board sets specific targets to lift literacy and mathematics achievement

  • staff promote powerful learning connections and relationships with whānau.

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?

Intergenerational whānau relationships and the school’s history foster a deep shared commitment to the community and the school. The board and whānau have strong connections with local marae and hapū.

The curriculum’s focus on building students’ knowledge of local contexts helps strengthen their sense of identity, and connection with Kaihu Valley. Authentic learning experiences outside the classroom maintain the school’s commitment to environmental sustainability and provide opportunities for students to experience a broad curriculum. This is a sound foundation for further developing the responsiveness of the school’s curriculum.

The board’s focus is on improving outcomes for students and enacting the school’s vision and values. Together, trustees work well to represent and actively serve the school and education community. The board prioritises resourcing for individual learners who need additional support.

Teachers have a strong focus on knowing the learner and responding to their social, emotional and academic strengths and needs. Students are supported by whānau who volunteer their time to provide additional learning support for individuals and groups of students. The school values the relationships and connections they have with whānau.

The principal fosters a collaborative and supportive school culture that promotes children’s learning and wellbeing. She encourages community kōrero and engagement with the school through regular hui. Community ideas and opinions contribute to school review and development.

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

The principal notes that the school’s curriculum continues to evolve and that there is progress towards strengthening:

  • the implementation of schoolwide strategies to further promote students’ critical thinking and problem solving skills

  • opportunities for students to lead their own learning.

The principal regularly documents individual education plans for each child. To make better use of these plans teachers could include students and whānau when developing and evaluating them. This process could help students to increase their own understanding of their learning and their next steps, and further develop learning-centred partnerships with parents and whānau.

The board and teachers have yet to develop internal evaluation and professional inquiry processes. It would be useful to explore current educational research to help the school to develop evaluation and inquiry, and improve the appraisal process. These developments could assist the principal to gain a better understanding of what works and makes the most positive difference for learners.

The principal recognises the need to have effective professional conversations about ‘teaching as inquiry’. Accessing support from external facilitators could support the teaching staff to develop focused inquiry to help them enhance teaching practices.

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.

Appraisal audit

The principal acknowledges that it is timely for her to seek professional learning and development regarding recent changes to the Educational Council requirements and standards that impact on aspects of appraisal including the collection of evidence. The principal has yet to appraise support staff.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • review its processes for documenting complaints, and meetings when the public is excluded

  • ensure that school appraisal processes meet Education Council requirements

  • seek external support to help keep well-informed about new legislation and undertake regular review of policies in relation to legal requirements including the Vulnerable Children Act 2014 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • the ongoing and collective commitment of the board and staff to enacting the school’s vision and values

  • leadership that creates an environment that focuses on children’s social, emotional and learning needs

  • children who know each other well and value the tuakana/teina relationships in the school

  • proud whānau who value the strong intergenerational connections with the school and its continued support for their children.

Next steps

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

  • continue developing a culturally responsive curriculum, which includes a variety of teaching strategies that engage students and encourage them to be leaders of their own learning

  • develop and document internal evaluation and inquiry processes that will help the board, leaders and teachers to measure the impact the curriculum has on outcomes for learners.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

13 September 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 10 Boys 6

Ethnic composition



Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

August 2018

Date of this report

13 September 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

October 2015
December 2012
June 2009