Kawakawa Primary School - 11/06/2013

1 Context

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

Kawakawa School was established in 1873 and is located in the southern Bay of Islands. It is a full primary school with students, from Years 1 to 8, with 3 Bilingual units. Approximately 90% of students are Māori, most of whom whakapapa to Ngāti Hine o Hine a Maru. Many whānau involved with the school are third and fourth generation students.

The school emblem resembles a kawakawa leaf. Within the leaf are 4 kowhaiwhai that meet at a central kowhaiwhai. This signifies the 4 rivers that flow into the Kawakawa river. They are the Waiomio, Tirohanga, Taumarere and Ngapitopito awa. Kawakawa Primary school draws its students from these areas and they are the names of the school houses.

Whanaungatanga and manaakitanga are at the heart of the school culture. The motto ‘kia ū ki te pai, up hold that which is good’ is well embedded in the safe and inclusive school culture. There are strong home and school partnerships which engage parents and whānau in the life of the school.

Since the previous review the leadership has remained the same and there has been some staffing changes. The school has positively responded to the areas identified in the 2010 ERO report. There has been extensive school-wide professional learning and development in writing which has resulted in improved teacher knowledge and understanding about this curriculum area. In addition, all classrooms have been refurbished and new technology equipment installed to improve the learning environment for students.

2 Learning

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

As a result of the school’s professional development, particularly in writing, over the past two years, the school is now more effectively using achievement data to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. The school uses this data to:

  • inform strategic targets in reading, writing and mathematics
  • inform teacher programme planning to meet the needs of groups and individual students
  • identify students requiring additional learning support
  • report to the board of trustees and parents
  • inform trustees in their decision making about strategic direction and resourcing.

Senior leaders recognise the need to strengthen school-wide data collation, as well as better analysis of trends, patterns and student needs, to make reports to the board clearer and more concise.

The school’s 2012 National Standard achievement information in reading states that most students are achieving at or above the standard and results are comparable to national expectations. Achievement information in writing and mathematics states that a large proportion of students are not yet achieving the National Standards. The school uses a sufficient range of assessment tools to assist teachers to moderate their professional judgements about student progress and achievement.

Target groups are clearly identified in classrooms and are linked to teacher appraisal goals. Teachers now need to more consistently identify and plan specific teaching strategies that will meet these learning needs. Students requiring additional support are receiving appropriate assistance. The school is able to demonstrate that individual students, who receive additional support, are making progress.

Reports to parents are comprehensive. Parents state that they are well informed about their child’s learning. These reports now need to more clearly align with National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics at least twice a year.

3 Curriculum

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

Currently the school’s curriculum is based is based on The New Zealand Curriculum and provides students with a wide range of learning opportunities and experiences. A recent review of the curriculum that included consultation with parents, students and teachers has provided information to assist the school to further develop their local curriculum framework.

The school has recognised and ERO agrees that in order to improve student achievement they should develop a local school curriculum where Ngāti Hinetanga is central. This curriculum should effectively reflect the local community history, values, and needs of whānau. This is likely to provide students with more meaningful and relevant experiences for learning across most curriculum areas.

Students observed by ERO were actively engaged in their learning. Teachers maintain positive caring and responsive relationships with students in settled and well-organised classrooms. They plan effectively and use a range of strategies to support students with their learning.

Effective teaching practices include cooperative group work, tuakana-teina, the promotion of thinking skills, sharing of learning intentions and success criteria, goal setting, and opportunities for students to share and reflect on their learning. Students are aware of their progress and next steps for learning. Teachers identified the need for more cross syndicate reflection and discussions about best teaching practice, which is focused on targeted students to raise their achievement.

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

The principal has a clear vision for Māori education and is nurturing a professional environment where Māori language and tikanga is valued. Whānau and wider community resources are used to enhance school programmes. Senior leadership, teachers and whānau now need to define the expectations of the level of competency of students in te reo Māori. Progressive programmes from Years 1 to 8 in both the bilingual and English medium classes need to be implemented. The programmes should be aligned to Ngāti Hine o Hine a Mārautanga and should lead to a more authentic and sequential delivery of essential knowledge skills and understandings in te reo and tikanga Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Positive aspects of school operations that promote and sustain improved practice include:

  • effective governance systems and practices implemented by trustees
  • a collaborative and cohesive approach to leadership to raise student achievement
  • self review practices that are focusing on improvement and raising of student achievement
  • an affirmative school culture that has the confidence of its community and positive parent involvement.

ERO and senior leaders agree that senior management need to undertake external and relevant professional development in:

  • curriculum development
  • teaching as inquiry
  • the collection and more effective use of student achievement information.

Addressing the areas for development identified during this evaluation would better place the school to continue to sustain and improve its performance.

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

11 June 2013

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 54% Girls 46%

Ethnic composition


NZ Pākehā









Special Features

3 Bilingual classes

Review team on site

April 2013

Date of this report

11 June 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2010

March 2007

November 2003