Kaponga School - 02/05/2016

1 Context

Kaponga School, located at the base of Mount Taranaki, caters for Years 1 to 8 students from the small township of Kaponga and the surrounding farming area. The roll of 117 includes 32 students who identify as Māori.

The board pays for professional learning for staff that supports curriculum developments and school priorities. They have funded the purchase of digital technologies that allow students one-to-one access to devices that assist their engagement in learning.

Trustees and staff promote a safe environment where students are provided with a range of challenging opportunities for physical development. Plans are in place to further develop the outdoor environment.

This report evaluates the school's effectiveness in responding to accelerating the learning and progress of Māori students who have been identified as underachieving.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children is: 'achieving for the future'. Strategic and annual goals have been developed in relation to the school's mission statement: 'achievement, attitude and aroha'. The annual goals are supported by an improvement plan and strategies.

School achievement data shows that over three-quarters of students achieve at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Māori students as a group achieve slightly higher than Pākehā in writing and mathematics and lower in reading.

Further work is needed to ensure that progress is accelerated for Māori and other students working below National Standards. Annual achievement targets do not identify specific strategies to respond to individuals whose progress needs acceleration. The next steps are to:

  • review plans and goals to focus more on outcomes for students
  • strengthen internal review by evaluating the impact of actions for improvement.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has:

  • continued to develop and strengthen the use of information technology (IT) to support teaching and learning
  • built on the mathematics focus to inform changes to programme and delivery
  • strengthened appraisal
  • become part of a recently formed local school cluster (MOAKluster).

Priorities for review and development identified in the 2013 ERO report have yet to be fully addressed.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

This school's response to Māori students whose learning and achievement need acceleration is the same as for all students. Leaders and staff need to more systematically consider culture and identity in their response to Māori learners.

Māori students who are underachieving have been appropriately identified as target students in classrooms. Useful programmes are in place to support these students' learning. Withdrawal interventions are informed by student achievement data and personalised to the specific needs of individual students. Teachers are informed about and discuss students' learning and progress.

Key next steps for staff are to:

  • more formally monitor and record learning and progress of students
  • develop a more comprehensive picture of achievement and progress for individual and groups of students
  • strengthen partnerships with parents and whānau by reciprocal sharing of children's strengths, interests and needs.

School data shows some progress for Māori students over their time at school, but little or no acceleration.

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

The school's response to other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration is the same as its response to Māori learners.

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 priorities for equity and excellence?

Trustees receive useful information about curriculum developments, school operation and levels of student achievement. The board responds by providing appropriate resourcing to support improvement. Trustees are actively involved in the school and know about the strengths and achievement levels of students whose learning requires acceleration. They manage the performance of the principal through external appraisal. The board should strengthen its decision making by using better evidence relating to progress of individuals and groups.

School leaders are developing systems and processes to support teaching and learning, including:

  • increased use of digital technology
  • continuing to strengthen appraisal and professional learning
  • ongoing revision of the curriculum delivery plan.

They have yet to focus on deliberate practices that promote Māori success as Māori. It is timely for school leaders and teachers to develop a curriculum that responds to students' language, culture and identity by:

  • using Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners andKa Hikitia: Accelerating Success 2013 - 2017
  • engaging with Māori whānau in learning-centred relationships
  • evaluating what works well for Māori students and others to promote learning.

Parents have access to their children's learning through e-portfolios. They receive written reports, twice a year summarising progress and achievement in relation to National Standards.

Teachers use student achievement information well to group and plan for learning. They:

  • promote respectful reciprocal relationships that support cooperative and active learning
  • use information technologies to support teaching, promote engagement and students' access to learning
  • provide opportunities for students to contribute, take risks, problem solve and know about their learning
  • generally respond to the needs of individuals and groups of learners
  • show strong knowledge of curriculum content.

A next step is to strengthen teaching as inquiry. This should better support leaders and teachers to more systematically gather and record evidence to inquire into and evaluate the effectiveness of their practice.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • have not yet developed approaches that effectively meet the needs of each child
  • have not yet ensured the school is well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

To improve learning outcomes and achievement trustees, leaders and teachers should:

  • implement deliberate actions to improve achievement outcomes for students
  • strengthen internal evaluation by systematically planning, monitoring and measuring effectiveness of leadership, teacher practice and changes for improvement
  • develop a culturally responsive curriculum, in consultation with parents, whānau and community.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should participate in an internal evaluation workshop. They should use this workshop, ERO exemplars of good practice and the School Evaluation Indicators to address the findings of this evaluation and develop a Raising Achievement Plan that includes a significant focus on building teacher capability to accelerate learning and achievement.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s Raising Achievement Plan and the progress the school makes. 

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.

During the review areas of non-compliance were identified. The board must:

  • in consultation with the school’s Māori community, develop and make known to the school’s community, policies, plans and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students
    [National Administration Guideline 1(e)]
  • at least once every two years and after consultation with the school community, adopt a statement on the delivery of the health curriculum
    [s60B Education Act 1989]
  • develop policy and procedures on surrender and retention of property and searches of students by the principal,teachers and authorised staff members
    [139AAA to 139AAH of the Education Act 1989].

In order to improve current practice the board of trustees should ensure that:

  • evacuation and lock down drills are carried out at least six monthly and reported to the board
  • steps are taken to meet the new requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

7 Recommendation

To ensure equitable and excellent outcomes for all students, ERO recommends that the school develop a plan to show how trustees, leaders and teachers will improve the quality of:

  • student achievement information used as evidence
  • internal evaluation
  • deliberate strategies that respond to the needs of students whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

2 May 2016 

About the school


Kaponga, Taranaki

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 52%, Female 48%

Ethnic composition





Review team on site

February 2016

Date of this report

2 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2013

February 2010

June 2006