Lake Rerewhakaaitu School - 26/08/2019

School Context

Lake Rerewhakaaitu School is located approximately 40km south east of Rotorua and provides education for students from Years 1 to 8. The school’s current roll of 70 includes 36 Māori students.

Since the 2015 ERO review, flexible learning environments have been created and there have been some changes to the teaching team. New trustees have been appointed including the board chairperson.

The school’s mission focuses on ‘preparing the students of today for the possibilities of tomorrow.’ Priority is placed on empowering students to reach their potential, stand tall in their cultures and make a positive contribution to society. Promoting the values of excellence and innovation, diversity and respect, manaakitanga and whanaungatanga, wellbeing/hauora and perseverance.

The school’s strategic goals are based on providing rich learning opportunities and developing skills for life-long learning. There is also a focus on developing student agency through inquiry-based learning, supported through the use of digital technology.

Teachers have undertaken a range of professional learning and development in oral language, writing and mathematics, culturally responsive practices and dyslexia. The school is a member of the Te Kāhui Ako o Reporoa/Community of Learning (CoL) and the principal is the CoL leader. Some trustees have participated in Treaty of Waitangi workshops.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, school-wide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • reading, writing and mathematics.

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 excellent outcomes for most students and working towards equity for all.

The school’s data from 2018 shows that almost all students are achieving at or above expected curriculum levels in reading and mathematics, and most are achieving in writing.

Māori students are working at comparable levels to their Pākehā peers in reading and mathematics, while some disparity remains in writing. Girls are performing highly in all areas. Boys are working at slightly lower levels than girls in reading and mathematics. Boys’ achievement in writing remains an area to improve. Data over the last two years shows significant improvement for Māori in all areas of the curriculum.

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

The school is accelerating learning for Māori and other students that need it. Recently analysed achievement information shows effective acceleration for at-risk students in reading, writing and mathematics. Students with additional learning needs are making appropriate progress in relation to their individual goals.

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?

Strong professional leadership guides all aspects of school development. Leaders set high expectations and have a clear vision for continuous improvement. They promote and participate in professional learning and development to build and sustain teacher and staff capability. Clear guidelines have been implemented to promote effective teaching and learning across the school. A strong focus on processes that guide teachers to reflect on their practice are evident. Leaders implement a comprehensive approach to teachers’ induction, coaching and mentoring.

Teachers effectively use deliberate strategies to enhance learning. Students benefit from warm and affirming relationships in a calm and settled environment. Teachers provide clear intentions and goals for learning. Students have access to digital technology to enhance and support learning. Planning is differentiated to support individual student achievement and their progress is monitored through appropriate assessment information. Teachers view parents and whānau as valued partners in learning.

The school has a highly inclusive culture for learning. Students with additional needs are well catered for through individualised planning. There is a strategic approach to supporting learning through targeted programmes and interventions. Leaders effectively liaise with a wide range of outside agencies to support student learning and behaviour.

Effective, culturally responsive practices support student learning. Whānau relationships are supporting the learning of te reo Māori across the school. Liaison with iwi is strengthening the teaching and learning of local history. Kapa haka is valued and promoted within the school and all students participate in the wider community’s annual cultural festival. Māori students are affirmed in their language, culture and identity.

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

Teachers should give priority to implementing practices that support students to have greater understanding of their current achievement and next learning steps. While some students are aware of their next steps this is not yet consistent across the school, particularly for at-risk students. This would support teachers to provide more specific feedback to students about their progress.

There is a need to refine the school’s targeted approach to accelerating the achievement of at-risk students. Leaders gather information on individual student achievement and report this regularly to the board of trustees. Leaders and trustees should implement a more aligned approach to accelerating achievement including:

  • setting charter targets that identify the number of students that require acceleration
  • closely monitoring the accelerated progress of targeted students and reporting this to the board
  • linking accelerated progress of targeted students to teachers’ reflective inquiries
  • regularly reporting to the board the effectiveness of school-wide initiatives for at-risk students.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Lake Rerewhakaaitu School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • leadership for learning that is focused on improving outcomes for all
  • an inclusive culture that supports the individual needs of students
  • integration of te ao Māori that contributes to high levels of student engagement and wellbeing.

Next steps

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

  • aspects of student agency to grow fully independent learners
  • the management and use of achievement data to support effective internal evaluation.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • review and strengthen crisis management and pandemic planning.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

26 August 2019

About the school


Rerewhakaaitu, Rotorua

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1-8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 38 Female 32

Ethnic composition

Māori 34
NZ European/Pākahā 36

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

June 2019

Date of this report

26 August 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review February 2015
Education Review December 2011
Education Review December 2008