Kihikihi School - 24/02/2015


Kihikihi students are proud of their school and of their growing achievements and successes. They have a strong sense of culture and identity, and are confident communicators. Staff value the contribution of parents and whānau as partners in their children’s education. The principal and board provide effective leadership and governance.

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?

The school is located in the historic village of Kihikihi, just south of Te Awamutu. It provides education in both English medium and Māori medium for a current total of 155 students in Years 1 to 8. The roll includes 112 students who identify as Māori, many of whom identify with Ngāti Maniapoto and Ngati Raukawa.

In 2014, Kihikihi School began to provide for Years 7 and 8 at the request of its parent community. Some of these senior students are in the three Rūmaki classes, where they are learning in the Māori medium. These classes cater for about one third of the school roll.

Another initiative since the 2011 ERO review is the on-site development and resourcing of technology classes for the senior students. A strong kapa haka group enables students to celebrate their culture and experience success in the wider local community. The school also participates in sporting activities, and in 2014 students are undertaking the William Pike Challenge Award, which offers students varied physical activities and encourages them to explore the outdoor world.

Teachers have been involved in professional development related to teaching mathematics/pangarau, making teacher judgements against National Standards, and curriculum development. Teachers have also participated in the local Learning Change Network. The principal has been involved with a group of Waikato principals who are focusing on improving the achievement of Māori students.

The school’s guiding vision is that students will be ‘Learners today, Leaders tomorrow’; ‘He tangata ako, He whānau ako’. This important message to students tells them that their learning can nurture the learning of all others.

2 Learning

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

The school makes effective use of student achievement information to support students’ learning. The principal is the steward for the school’s clear vision for ongoing development. He has worked with school leaders to establish systems and processes that improve outcomes for students. School leaders analyse student achievement information and report their findings to the board and the parent community. Trustees ask questions to develop their understanding of this information, and use it to make appropriate decisions about the allocation of resources. The school also uses this information to set target goals, identify students who need additional learning support, and track students’ progress. Teachers and leaders regularly report the outcomes of the support programmes to the board of trustees.

Teachers collect information about student learning and progress using an appropriate range of assessment tools in both the English and Māori medium. The school is working alongside other schools to develop processes that support teachers to make reliable judgements against National Standards. Teachers identify students who are working below National Standards. They use achievement information to adapt their teaching programmes to reflect student learning, and to include parents’ as responsive partners who can provide appropriate support at home. Parents also gain information about their children’s learning though conferences, meetings and written reports.

In 2013, students learning in the English language medium were achieving comparably to students nationally in reading, writing and mathematics. The school recognises that trends in 2014 indicate that more progress is required in writing, and is arranging professional development for teachers. Boys were achieving less well than girls in 2013, and in 2014 are making good progress in reading and mathematics.

In 2013, Māori students learning in the English language medium achieved comparably to all students nationally and substantially above national comparisons for Māori in writing. They achieved at lower levels in mathematics, and considerably lower in reading. During 2014, identified students have been participating in programmes that are supporting their progress in reading, and current trends indicate that good progress is being made in mathematics.

The school is making progress towards meeting the Government’s target of having 85% of students achieving at or above National Standards at the end of 2017.

3 Curriculum

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

There has been effective leadership of ongoing curriculum development. It is designed to respond to the wishes of the school community and provide a framework for teachers’ planning and assessment. Under the guidance of the principal, extensive consultation has been undertaken to gather the views of students, teachers and whānau about their aspirations. The school developed graduate profiles for students’ learning in the Māori language medium. Further consultation is providing direction to bring the two curricula together as parallel documents. Students have a variety of rich learning experiences, including trips to the local museum and significant historical sites, and involvement in camps and sporting events.

Students are learning in inclusive, respectful and focused learning environments. Teachers know students very well, and understand their current learning needs. ERO observed examples of teachers using effective teaching strategies to build on students’ prior knowledge and encourage enthusiasm for learning. The school links with a range of agencies that provide help for students with diverse learning and support needs. The development of tuakana-teina relationships enables students to become responsible for promoting a climate of wellbeing and acceptance for younger students and newcomers to the school. Students are proud of their school. Their sense of identity is a strong focus, and it is evident that teachers and leaders sustain and enhance students’ Māori identity.

The school is committed to engaging parents/whānau in school life and teachers work hard to involve them as partners in their children’s learning. They use a range of communication strategies, including text messages, face-to-face contact, and sometimes home visits, to inform parents and whānau about their children’s successes, and advise them how they can support their children’s learning. Teachers consult with parents/whānau about children’s goals, and meet more formally to share progress during the year. Children share their profile books with whānau. These contain valuable information about individual children’s learning and progress in relation to National Standards and curriculum expectations.

The school recognises that partnerships with parents can make a strong contribution to student success. The school could consider investigating programmes such as Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) and Mūtukaroa. These programmes are specifically designed for helping parents with their role. It would also be appropriate to embed the use of assessment information to guide teaching, and to continue to strengthen students’ ownership of their learning.

At the time of the on-site visit, some tutors for the Years 7 - 8 technology classes required a Limited Authority to Teach registration to continue their involvement in classroom programmes. The school is currently addressing this issue with the New Zealand Teachers Council.

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

In 2013, students learning in the Māori medium were achieving similarly to national levels for Maori medium students in korero, and below that level for pānui and pāngarau. In 2014, achievement in pānui has improved, and korero and pāngarau have remained at similar levels.

Māori student success has been very well supported by the school environment and culture. Notable features include a traditional waharoa placed at the school’s main entry, the strength of the kapa haka, and a technology emphasis on students’ carving. Networks have been built with the local marae and are maintained through staff members’ participation in local events. Students study local Māori history, and visit local sites of significance. Teachers in the English medium are responding positively to increasing their competence in te reo Maori and Māori protocols. Māori culture is a normal and highly visible feature in the school, and Māori students are confident, engaged participants in both the English and Māori medium.

The school recognises there are aspects of the school curriculum that could be strengthened to further increase Māori student success as Māori in both language mediums.

For the English medium, the next steps are to:

  • develop a systematic and sequential curriculum for teaching te reo Māori, and for the history of Maniopoto and Raukawa iwi
  • continue to increase teacher ownership of te reo by encouraging its incidental use in everyday classroom situations.

For the Māori medium:

  • strengthen the pedagogical leadership for the wāhanga rūmaki
  • increase teacher knowledge of second language teaching strategies and techniques.

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.

The board is supportive of the principal and staff. Trustees have a good range of skills, and represent the school community well. They are committed to improving the success of all students, and work to build the school’s partnerships with the whānau

The knowledgeable principal works hard to identify and encourage the implementation of current best practice. He has developed an extensive network of professional links. The principal focuses on developing the school to respond to the identity of Kihikihi students and equip them as confident and competent life-long learners.

Effective self-review systems have been developed to evaluate student achievement and consider the quality of teaching and learning programmes. These systems could be further improved by developing a triennial plan of work that would ensure required processes were followed at all times.

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.


Kihikihi students are proud of their school and of their growing achievements and successes. They have a strong sense of culture and identity, and are confident communicators. Staff value the contribution of parents and whānau as partners in their children’s education. The principal and board provide effective leadership and governance.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer-Northern

24 February 2015

About the School


South of Te Awamutu

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 53%

Girls 47%

Ethnic composition




South-East Asian





Special Features

Three Rūmaki classes

Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

24 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2011

February 2008

March 2006