Karaka School - 21/05/2013

1 Context

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

Karaka School is a rural full primary school catering for students in Years 1 to 8 and located between Pukekohe and Papakura. Students come from both urban and country families. An enrolment scheme is in place to ensure that the roll does not exceed 250 students. Eight percent of students identify as Māori and there are some Pacific families. The school has established links with nearby Wesley College.

The school continues to be supported by parents and the community who regularly volunteer to assist in classroom programmes and fundraise for resources. Many families have been involved with the school for several generations. There is an emphasis on maintaining a warm family-like atmosphere where new families feel valued and welcome. Parents and community residents regularly volunteer to assist in classroom programmes. There is an active parent teacher association that works closely with the board and school to raise funds for curriculum resources. Agricultural Day is a traditional annual event that is valued and well supported by local residents.

The experienced trustees, principal and teachers have developed clear school-wide policies and procedures to guide practices. Attractive and well-presented grounds and facilities are being continually upgraded to increase the range and quality of learning experiences. The school has identified key next steps for future development and plan to increase opportunities for students to use computer technologies to further enhance their learning.

The school has a history of positive ERO reports. The 2010 ERO report identified many areas of good performance and they have made good progress in addressing the areas requiring improvement that were identified in that report.

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

The school uses appropriate nationally standardised and school developed assessment approaches to determine achievement against National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. These assessments show a high proportion of students achieve at or above National Standards during their time at the school. Māori and Pacific students achieve at comparable levels to their peers. Information about student achievement is used effectively by:

  • the board to determine strategic goals and targets and to provide relevant resources
  • senior leaders and a special needs coordinator, to identify students requiring learning support and extension, set targets and to report progress about these groups of learners to the board and community
  • teachers to group students for instruction, provide extension opportunities and to report student progress to parents.

In discussion with ERO, senior leaders acknowledge and ERO agrees that there is a need to continue to develop shared understandings about how to further involve students in managing their own learning. They plan to continue increasing opportunities for students to participate more in the assessment of their learning, monitoring their own progress, and the development of specific next learning steps.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively caters for students learning. Students benefit from opportunities for education outside the classroom including camps and field trips to support learning topics. A strength of the school is its approach to integrate literacy and mathematical learning across subjects. There is an emphasis on literacy, mathematics, the arts and thinking skills. Teachers have developed a structured approach to covering other required subject areas, including languages. There are many opportunities to promote student leadership and participation in a wide range of sports and performance activities. Appropriate resources are available to support students’ learning.

Teachers' professional development has been focused on implementing inquiry learning approaches, and school-wide guidelines are in the early stages of development. There are future plans also for teachers to participate in whole-school professional development to improve e-learning in all classes.

A specialist part-time teacher is leading the promotion of te reo and tikanga Māori in all classes. There are clear expectations for continuing to develop bicultural perspectives. All students enthusiastically participate in pōwhiri and waiata, while senior students participate in marae experiences. The specialist teacher has plans to further develop a sequential school wide te reo Māori programme.

Teachers, students and parents share high expectations for learning, teaching and behaviour. Respectful, affirming and caring relationships continue to be a positive feature throughout the school. Teachers know students and their families well. Student behaviour is managed consistently with a focus on positive outcomes for all. Teachers provide students with positive affirmation for their efforts and provide them with specific written feedback and next steps for learning. Classroom environments are attractively presented and educationally stimulating. Classes are settled and purposeful. There are high levels of student engagement.

School leaders and ERO agree that next steps are to develop school-wide approaches to teaching as inquiry, where teachers reflect on their practice and implement a range of strategies with a view of improving outcomes for student learning.

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

Māori students in the school are experiencing educational success, and all were at and above National Standards in reading and writing in 2012. There are cultural leadership opportunities for students such as speaking at powhiri, which reinforces the value placed on reflecting te reo and tikanga Māori within the school. A notable feature of the school is the positive relationships school leaders and teachers have with whānau, who are warmly welcomed and encouraged to spend time at the school. Open communication and regular consultation enables whānau to be partners in their children’s learning.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance because:

  • governance is effective and trustees are committed to supporting staff in providing the best possible learning opportunities for students
  • there is a systematic approach to strategic planning, policy review and monitoring of strategic goals
  • effective professional and considered leadership is provided by the experienced long-serving principal
  • senior leaders work collaboratively and are focused on positive outcomes for students
  • teachers are knowledgeable and reflective practitioners, open to continually improving their practice
  • self review processes are well established and include extensive consultation and communication with parents and community
  • parents actively work in partnership with the school to support their children’s education.

School leaders intend to continue refining self-review processes to ensure a consistent focus on improved outcomes for students. There are clear processes in place for the performance management of staff. ERO and the senior leadership team agree that further use needs to be made of achievement information to identify and monitor:

  • next stages for development for teachers professional practice within staff appraisal processes
  • how effectively the school is accelerating the progress of students achieving below expected levels as well as accelerating the progress of priority learners and other targeted groups.

Provision for international students

Karaka School is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989.

The school does not currently have any international students enrolled, but has attested that it continues to comply with all aspects of the Code.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for managing Code requirements is robust.

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
  • processes for appointing staff
  • 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 three years.

Dale Bailey National Manager Review Services Northern Region

21 May 2013

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 58% Girls 42%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā




Latin American








Review team on site

March 2013

Date of this report

21 May 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2010

June 2007

March 2004