Kaingaroa School (Kaitaia) - 18/01/2017

1 Context

Kaingaroa School, near the town of Kaitaia in the Far North, is a full primary school for Years 1 to 8 children. The school has been serving the coastal community in this area for 130 years. Approximately half the children are of Māori descent, the other half are New Zealand European/Pākehā.

Since the 2013 ERO review a new principal has been appointed. There have been many initiatives and changes in the school in the last two years. New leadership approaches are building teacher capability and confidence in helping children to succeed who were previously at risk of not achieving. The school is a member of the Far North Community of Learning alongside 21 other primary, intermediate and secondary schools. In 2015, Kaingaroa School joined 10 other schools in the Muriwhenua Learning Change Network cluster.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to become capable, confident and academically successful students who are connected with whānau, their culture and their environment. The school community has recently refreshed the school's vision and mission statements. The school values of equity (tautoko), respect (whakapono) and responsibility (manaakitanga), are currently under review.

The school’s achievement information shows that approximately 57 percent of children achieve the National Standards for mathematics, 52 percent for writing and 68 percent for reading. There is some disparity between the overall achievement of Māori children and that of others in the school.

With new leadership and revitalised learning approaches during 2015 and 2016 this disparity is decreasing. The school continues to focus on strategies to further reduce disparity in achievement across all of the National Standards. In 2016 the school has made improvement in writing a priority.

Very good processes are being followed to support teachers to make reliable judgements in relation to the National Standards. School leaders are making more use of evidence from across the curriculum as well as from summative testing, to guide teacher decisions. Moderation practices align well with ongoing evaluative discussions among staff to support children at risk of not achieving. The principal leads this approach through example, by working in classrooms with targeted children. Teachers and students also benefit from continuing external expertise in the school to support mathematics and literacy.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has:

  • created opportunities for all teachers to be involved collaboratively in leading changes in curriculum delivery and assessment practices
  • implemented a 'teaching as inquiry' process that focuses on targeted students in order to accelerate their progress
  • implemented specific term by term planning for acceleration with resulting evidence being documented.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The board, principal and teachers are focusing on a large number of children who need to make accelerated progress with their learning. There are clear links in school systems between strategic planning, annual planning and teacher planning to deliberately accelerate progress for groups of children who are at risk of not achieving.

All children are respected as capable learners who can make progress at their expected age level and can make decisions about their own learning preferences. Teachers give children useful feedback about how they can improve and use next steps themselves. Increasingly children are seeking more ways to be in control of and independent in their own learning. Overall most learners are engaging well in class programmes and look forward to their learning experiences and challenges.

Teachers are quickly identifying children's learning needs and implementing relevant strategies to address their individual requirements. School documentation shows effective monitoring and evidence of children's learning progress being sustained over time.

Teachers collectively share the responsibility for all children's learning and for accelerated learning. They regularly meet to discuss and inform each other about strategies that make a difference and evaluate interventions that are in place. The principal is very involved in modelling best practice to help teachers adjust, deepen and improve their understanding further to accelerate learning.

School leaders and teachers are offering whānau more opportunities to be involved in the school and participate meaningfully in their children's learning. ERO supports the board's and principal's intentions to further promote this initiative in the next phase of school development.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

Good processes and practices are used to promote equity and excellence in children's educational outcomes. The board, principal and teachers work with a strategic plan and direction that is focused clearly on progress and achievement expectations for all learners. High quality, evidence-based information about student progress and achievement assists the board to make good resourcing decisions, especially in relation to staffing.

The school has a deep commitment to bicultural practice. The current strategic plan supports Māori children's educational success and identity in the school. The principal and trustees are developing strong links with local iwi at a considered and appropriate pace. There is positive and effective Māori representation on the board and increasing connections are being made with three key marae. A school kaumatua is directly involved in school-wide learning to embed authentic tikanga appropriate for this iwi rohe. A kaiawhina tutor is also employed by the board to support te reo and tikanga in classroom programmes.

All children have growing opportunities to gain knowledge and confidence in te ao Māori. They especially enjoy and confidently lead kapa haka, waiata and whaikorero. A next step for teachers is to further develop their own cultural competencies and Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, will have more focus and impact on appraisal requirements during 2017.

The school's curriculum is increasingly aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum. Leaders plan to increase the levels of student and community agency to shape the development of the school's future curriculum framework. This will broaden children's local, national and global understandings through authentic and purposeful connections to learning. School leaders are developing digital learning to enhance classroom programmes and are encouraging the use of technology to assist parents to work with their children at home.

Students are benefitting from a strong focus on literacy and mathematics across all curriculum areas. This has been a long term strategic focus and positive gains and shifts are becoming evident, particularly through the second half of 2016. Regular evaluation at all levels of the school to consider the impact and effectiveness of teaching literacy and mathematics is proving to be very useful in guiding further development decisions.

The principal and teachers are working to increase the level of community involvement in the school, particularly in encouraging Māori parents to become participants in their children's learning pathway. Regular 'green' weeks are flagged in the school's calendar to foster connections with parents and whānau wherever possible.

The concept "that all teachers are leaders" is actively promoted in the school. Leadership roles are being changed regularly to extend teachers' capabilities. As this leadership model embeds in the school, more consistent approaches to teaching and learning will assist children to successfully transition through the different year levels.

Trustees have a professional approach to their stewardship responsibilities and use sound processes to ensure the board meets its statutory obligations. The board is diverse and brings expertise from varying backgrounds to the governance role. Trustees work well together to promote the growing interest from the community in the school's success.

Internal evaluation has been used purposefully to guide school development through a period of rapid change. Progress towards the Charter's strategic goals is regularly monitored and evaluated. Teachers feel well supported to deliver these strategic intentions. They have ample professional opportunities to reflect on how their teaching practice impacts on children's learning, particularly on those who have additional or special learning requirements.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Kaingaroa School is well placed to make ongoing improvement and build capability to impact positively on children's learning. The board, principal, teachers and community have a shared vision and commitment to the school's current direction that is focused on successful educational outcomes for all students.

During the review ERO and school leaders agreed that the following next steps that would benefit outcomes for learners include continuing to:

  • build the school's inquiry culture to consolidate many recent initiatives and changes
  • develop learning relationships between whānau, teachers and children
  • build a responsive curriculum where student agency is prioritised
  • build the school's evaluative culture to sustain high quality practice

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

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • 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

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that the board, principal, leaders and teachers continue to use internal evaluation to guide the development of strategies to further improve the outcomes for Māori and other children whose learning needs acceleration.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

18 January 2017

About the school 


Kaingaroa, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 62% Girls 38%

Ethnic composition







Review team on site

October 2016

Date of this report

18 January 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2013

April 2010

January 2007