Kaponga School - 16/05/2019

School Context

Kaponga School, located on the southern side of Mount Taranaki, caters for students in Years 1 to 8. Of the 109 learners enrolled, 17% identify as Māori.

The mission statement of ‘Achievement, Attitude, Aroha’ underpins the vision of ‘Achieving for our future’.

The school’s strategic curriculum goal is focused on teaching and learning programmes which provide a ‘comprehensive and meaningful curriculum in the core areas which sees improvement in all students’.

The annual student achievement targets for 2018 focused on ensuring all students would raise their reading ages and increase their Progressive Achievement Test (PAT) scores in mathematics.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes and progress for students in reading and mathematics.

The principal has been with the school for 11 years. The deputy principal is currently on maternity leave. The board is a mix of both newer and more experienced trustees.

The school is involved in the MOA cluster of local schools for professional development and learning (PLD).

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?

School provided 2016 and 2017 achievement data reports that most students achieve at expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. The achievement of boys was below that of girls in literacy.

The 2018 school-wide picture of equitable and excellent outcomes is unclear. School-wide information is not sufficiently robust to accurately show the overall achievement and progress outcomes for students. While teachers assess and monitor individual children, a school-wide strategic focus on identifying and addressing disparity for groups of students is not evident.

Learners with additional needs are appropriately identified and programmes to promote well-being and learning are put in place. Individual education plans and external expertise effectively support this provision.

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

In 2017 one of the school’s annual goals was to improve the overall achievement levels of Māori students below expectations in reading. End of year data showed acceleration for the majority of students in this target group.

In 2018 the school is unable to identify and report how well learning is accelerated for students at risk.

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?

Positive, respectful relationships are evident across the staff and children. Calm settled classes with established routines help promote learning and well-being. Children are socially competent and confident. Students participate positively in learning.

Teachers support each other by sharing practice and new ideas. Recent professional learning and development has provided useful opportunities to explore new approaches to teaching and learning. Reading, writing and mathematics are the school’s priority learning areas.

Trustees and staff promote community involvement in school life. Parents are involved in a range of school activities, and have formal and informal opportunities to discuss their children’s learning and well-being with teachers.

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

School leaders need to ensure that achievement information is dependable, consistent and well analysed to clearly show the progress and achievement of students. Establishing a coherent picture, from classroom level through to the board level of those students who need acceleration of learning, is a priority. Annual target setting and tracking needs improvement so that those who need acceleration across the school are more easily monitored and reported on during the year. A deliberate and responsive approach to achieve equity and excellence is required.

The school has agreed that the curriculum needs further review and development, so that it better reflects and guides current priorities, initiatives and practice. Establishing and clearly articulating a shared vision, informed by whānau and iwi aspirations, should guide the curriculum to be more culturally responsive, localised, and better reflect the bicultural nature of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Leaders should develop a strategic, evidence based approach to decision making, to promote equity and excellence for all students. This should include:

  • the clear identification of valued outcomes and priorities for learning, informed by robust achievement data and purposeful consultation with the school community

  • aligning strategic goals to priorities and valued outcomes to guide teaching and learning

  • cohesive, effective school-wide teaching practices and targeted actions that respond to students whose learning requires acceleration

  • evaluation of strategies and initiatives to inform decision making and sustain improvement over time.

Trustees demonstrate a commitment to the school. They bring a range of useful skills and knowledge to their roles which supports ongoing school development. Continuing to access support for trustees’ to build their capacity should assist them to more effectively carry out their roles and responsibilities, and fully meet their statutory responsibilities.

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.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Kaponga School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Needs development.

ERO will maintain an ongoing relationship with the school to build capacity and evaluate progress.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a supportive culture among staff that enables a collective response to learners

  • settled classes with established routines that help promote learning and well-being.

Next steps

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

  • ensuring achievement information is dependable, consistent and well analysed to clearly show the progress and achievement of students

  • improving annual target setting and tracking so that those who need acceleration across the school are more easily monitored

  • reviewing the school’s curriculum to ensure it better reflects and guides current priorities, initiatives and practice, and reflects the bicultural aspect of Aotearoa New Zealand 
  • developing a strategic, evidence based approach to decision making, to promote equity and excellence for all students.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to:

  • consultation with the school’s Māori community
  • policies and procedures
  • teacher registration
  • requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014

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

  1. 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)]

  1. 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]

  1. develop and implement policy on managing challenging behaviour and using restraint that is consistent with the Ministry of Education guidelines on the use of physical restraint, and in compliance with the 2017 Rules
    [Education (Physical Restraint) Rules 2017]

  1. and ensure these are easily accessible to parents and whānaureview policies on a regular basis so that they are up to date
    [National Administration Guidelines 2(b)]

  1. Ensure that existing core children’s workers are safety checked in accordance with the Vulnerable Children (Requirements for Safety Checks of Children’s Workers) Regulations 2015.
    [Vulnerable Children Act 2014 and regulations]

  1. ensure all teachers have up to date teacher certification
    [349-350 of the Education Act 1989]

Since the onsite review, the school has addressed this and all teachers now have current certification.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • introduce in-committee procedures as required for board meetings

  • report to the board on other student outcomes such as analysed attendance data, health incidents and wellbeing

  • develop ways to include students more directly in its anti-bullying and well-being programmes such as in the regular use of student surveys.

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

  • assessment, analysis and monitoring practices

  • consultation and partnerships with Māori

  • trustees understanding of their roles, responsibilities and legislative obligations.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

16 May 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 58%, Female 42%

Ethnic composition

Māori 17%

NZ European/Pākehā 81%

Other ethnic groups 2 %

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

March 2019

Date of this report

16 May 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2016

Education Review May 2013