Karamea Area School - 07/02/2019

School Context

Karamea Area School provides education for Year 1 to 15 students. It is situated in a small, remote town at the far north of the Buller region of the South Island. The school roll is 70 students.

The school states that:

  • its purpose is to ‘provide student-centred holistic education by developing the highest levels of literacy, numeracy and social skills to prepare students for the future they choose’.
  • the values of Respect, Excellence, Community, Integrity, Pride and Environment are modelled and explored through daily interactions.

The current annual targets are that by the end of 2018:

  • all Māori students will be working within the expected curriculum levels
  • a group of girls in Years 4 to 6 will make accelerated progress to be achieving at the expected level of the mathematics curriculum
  • a group of Year 3 to 8 students will make accelerated progress to be working at the expected levels in writing
  • secondary school students are successful learners in all subjects.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • progress and achievement in Years 9 and 10
  • achievement within the New Zealand Qualifications Framework
  • Māori student achievement
  • children with additional learning needs
  • wellbeing
  • attendance.

Since the May 2016 ERO review, the school has continued to undergo considerable change. A new deputy principal will begin in 2019.

The school has had a Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) for most of the period since the 2016 ERO review. The LSM had responsibility for employment and board systems and processes, including financial management. The LSM finished her role in early 2018.

The school is a member of the Top of the South Island (TOSI) Kāhui Ako | Community of Learning.

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?

The school is achieving equitable, and in some cases excellent, outcomes for its students.

Most students are achieving well in reading, writing and mathematics from Years 1 to 8. Girls and boys achieve equally well. Māori students are achieving as well or better than their peers. Students in Years 9 and 10 generally achieve at expected curriculum levels.

Over the past three years most senior students gained the qualifications relevant to their level. Most of the students who remain at the school through Years 12 and 13 gain NCEA Level 2. In 2018 there has been a considerable improvement in the number and quality of student qualifications gained.

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

The school is effectively accelerating the learning for those who need it. The data shows that the majority of students who are targeted for acceleration make accelerated progress.

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?

Students have interesting and effective opportunities to learn and progress. They benefit from respectful relationships between students and teachers. School leaders have established clear and consistent expectations to support learning and behaviour. Students, teachers and whānau participate in curriculum design and decision making. Teachers have a flexible approach to the curriculum. In the senior school students have individual learning programmes based on their aspirations.

The strategic approach to building capability and capacity is having a positive impact on school culture and outcomes for students. An external facilitator has provided a useful framework to improve staff relationships. The considered approach to professional learning and development provides the time to develop shared school-wide understandings of effective teaching and learning. Teachers work collaboratively within and beyond the school. The revised appraisal process is supporting teachers to share ideas and reflect on their teaching practice.

The board actively represents and serves the school community. Student learning, wellbeing, achievement and progress are the board’s core focus. Trustees are strategic in the way they resource the school to improve valued student outcomes. They seek relevant training and advice when needed, and make good use of external consultants.

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

Trustees and school leaders now need to work with the community to develop the school’s future strategic direction. Trustees, whānau and members of the community are proud of their unique environment. However, there is no shared view of how best to make use of it. School leaders and trustees need to consult with all parties involved to determine how to develop a local curriculum to make the best use of the local environment and resources.

Evaluation and inquiry are not yet fully embedded in a systematic and coherent way. There has been an appropriate focus on putting systems in place to consolidate good practice and ensure the smooth running of the school. It is now time to consider how new initiatives will be evaluated. This will include defining success criteria for key initiatives and collecting a range of evidence to show the criteria have been met.

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 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a curriculum that meets the needs and aspirations of students
  • a positive collegial culture where teachers work together for the best outcomes for students
  • a board of trustees that focuses on resourcing the school to support student achievement and wellbeing.

Next steps

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

  • an agreed, well understood strategic vision for the school’s local curriculum
  • a plan to evaluate the impact of key initiatives on valued outcomes for students.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Alan Wynyard
Director Review & Improvement Services
Southern Region

7 February 2019

About the school 


West Coast

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Composite (Years 1 to 13)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 38; Boys 32

Ethnic composition

Māori                       6

Pākehā                   55

Pacific                      2

Other ethnicities       7

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

7 February 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2016

Education Review February 2015

Education Review September 2011