Karetu School - 25/02/2015


Karetu School provides good quality education in a supportive, learning-focused environment. The board and teaching staff are responsive to student, whānau and community aspirations. The school focuses on using achievement information well to help all students improve their learning. Teachers support students to be confident, capable learners.

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

1 Context

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

Karetu School is near Kawakawa in Northland. It provides good quality education for Year 1 to 8 students in three classrooms. Its experienced principal is well respected in the small rural community. He is supported by a new board of trustees. Trustees actively explore ways to strengthen their governance role.

Long standing whānau associations with the school contribute to a sense of belonging for adults and children. School/home partnerships are founded on well formed, trusting relationships. The school is in the rohe of Ngāti Manu and has 22 students who identify as Māori.

Since the 2011 ERO review, the school has continued to uphold the value of mutual respect. Students are provided with a variety of purposeful, well paced classroom and co-curricular activities. As part of ongoing development, the board and principal have improved quality assurance processes to strengthen student safety.

Teacher and teacher aide participation in school-wide professional learning and development initiatives have enhanced outcomes for students. Staff have implemented teaching and learning strategies to accelerate children’s progress.

2 Learning

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

The principal, teachers and the board use achievement information well to improve students’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Teachers reflect on ways they can adapt their teaching practice to cater for learners’ diverse requirements. This focused approach to raising student achievement helps students to understand ways they can improve their learning. Students see themselves as capable, lifelong learners. Their confidence is evident in the way they engage positively in their work.

Teachers use their understanding of the National Standards to improve learning. They successfully collect and make sense of information from a variety of sources. Teachers use this to gauge how well individual students achieve in relation to the Standards across the curriculum.

School achievement information shows that most students achieve above the National Standards, particularly in reading. Students achieve at similar levels as students in local schools. Professional learning and development (PLD) for teachers, in mathematics and literacy, positions the school well to meet the Government’s 2017 National Standards targets. Parents receive informative reports that show their children’s progress and achievement in relation to the Standards. They appreciate teachers’ suggestions about ways they might support their children’s learning.

The principal and teachers have identified that students could be provided with better access to achievement information. This could help to give more direction to their learning.

The board and staff believe that all students are capable of genuine progress and success. Trustees use self-review information effectively to make resourcing decisions that help promote positive student outcomes. Trustees set targets and goals for school improvement that reflect the school’s high expectations for staff and students.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum reflects the local context and successfully promotes and supports student learning. It connects well with community aspirations and students’ passions. Students keenly engage in co-curricular activities including bush-craft, fishing and cycling. These outdoor activities provide Māori students with opportunities to use their knowledge of their whenua in their learning.

The positive school culture contributes to students’ strong sense of belonging, and connectedness to each other, their school and the community. Trustees, principal, staff and students promote successful learning by fostering wellbeing for all. They actively work with whānau to meet the wellbeing and learning needs of individual students. Tuakana/teina relationships are supported across the school. As a result, students develop a belief that they are capable learners. Students with special needs are well catered for in this inclusive, supportive learning environment.

Good quality teaching and learning practices that promote student learning are evident across the school. These practices are informed by teachers’ good knowledge of students’ learning requirements and their strengths. Most teachers plan varied programmes that support students’ holistic development.

The principal continues to lead developments in teaching and learning. He is promoting practices that support students to plan how they will achieve their next steps. He has identified as a priority, more fully implementing the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum. Teachers are exploring ways to enrich the school’s broad curriculum to cater for different students’ interests. The principal and staff have identified the development of teaching practices that support student inquiry, as a next step. School review could also focus on meeting the different interests, talents and strengths of boys.

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

Māori students represent nearly half the school roll and most whakapapa to the local hapū, Ngāti Manu. They experience success as Māori in a variety of meaningful ways. Biculturalism is embedded in school life. Māori students’ cultural identity and te reo Māori are valued.

The principal’s and teachers’ access to local Māori history and knowledge is reflected in school programmes that promote te Ao Māori. Teachers support each other to increase their confidence and use of te reo Māori.

To strengthen the school’s good provision of success for students, as Māori, the school could consider developing a strategic plan in partnership with whānau Māori. This plan should capture and respond to community/hapū aspirations for ngā tamariki. Such a development would support the implementation of a sequenced te reo Māori programme that builds on Māori students’ capability in their language as they progress through the school.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain good practices and continue improving its performance. It is well served by good quality governance and leadership. There is strong alignment between the school’s vision, strategic direction and action plans. The board is committed to its governance role. Attending to the needs and aspirations of all students and their whānau is the board’s priority. Trustees, the principal and staff work together effectively to meet school goals. They share a commitment to continuous school improvement.

The principal and trustees value staff contributions to school decisions. Staff respond well to change and work well with each other to ensure good quality student outcomes. Teachers support each other to develop their teaching practice. Work with Ministry of Education personnel has provided trustees, the principal and teachers with a useful framework to clearly identify their different roles and responsibilities. This should help to ensure continuous school improvement.

Self review has a positive impact on the school’s strategic direction. It is:

  • informed by parents, community, staff and students
  • evidence-based and tested by critique and feedback
  • ongoing and informs school priorities that focus on positive outcomes for students.

Areas identified by the school and endorsed by ERO for further review and development include:

  • implementing teacher appraisal processes to strengthen support for teacher learning and development
  • further progressing support for students to plan their next learning steps
  • refining the use of self review in order to evaluate how well different teaching practices and programmes impact on student engagement, achievement and progress.

ERO is confident that the board, principal and staff have the capability to use the school’s well developed self-review processes to sustain and improve positive outcomes for all students.

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.

The board must implement employment policies and procedures including appraisal of teaching staff [National Administration Guidelines 3].


Karetu School provides good quality education in a supportive, learning-focused environment. The board and teaching staff are responsive to student, whānau and community aspirations. The school focuses on using achievement information well to help all students improve their learning. Teachers support students to be confident, capable learners.

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

Dale Bailey National Manager Review Services Northern Region

25 February 2015

About the School


Kawakawa, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 33 Girls 20

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā








Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

25 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2011

November 2010

December 2007