Makahu School - 03/09/2018

School Context

Makahu School is a small rural school catering for children in Years 1 to 8. It is approximately 40 kilometres east of Stratford off the ‘Forgotten Highway’. The current roll is 13 students.

Preparing students academically, physically, emotionally and socially for the future is the school’s aim. The symbol of the school, the Makahu (White Hawk) encapsulates the vision and values, and the hawk’s feathers represent the importance of The New Zealand Curriculum Key Competencies, as ‘without all these things in place the hawk cannot soar.’

The ‘Flight Feathers’, “Achiever, Communicator, Thinker, Team Player, Solve Problems”, reflect the dispositions of students to be life-long learners, connected to the land, environment, and people.

The strategic plan prioritises on-going student improvement in writing, developing and promoting the Key Competencies, and the use of technology to enhance learning.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics, in relation to the levels of The New Zealand Curriculum
  • progress in relation to targets for accelerating learning
  • attendance and engagement.

Board members and staffing remain the same since the June 2015 ERO report.

The school is part of the Eastern Districts school cluster and has joined the Stratford Kāhui Ako. This participation includes involvement in staff professional learning and development (PLD) and provides sporting and cultural interaction for students. Teachers have also been involved in the Ministry of Education initiative, Accelerating Learning in Literacy in 2016, 2017 and through the Kāhui Ako in writing.

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?

Most students are achieving at or above the school’s expectation in reading, writing and mathematics. Data over the past three years indicates there have been improved outcomes for all students.

Girls achieve highly with nearly all at or above expectation. While there is disparity between boys’ and girls’ achievement, boys’ achievement has improved over time, with the majority achieving at expectation in reading and mathematics.

Students that remain at Makahu School over time show greater achievement outcomes.

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

The school is responding effectively to most children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration.

Students requiring acceleration are clearly identified in teacher’s inquiry in reading, writing and mathematics. These students all show progress, with assessment indicating acceleration for some. There continues to be a focus on improving boys’ achievement in writing.

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?

The school environment has a positive tone. Children work cooperatively and high expectations for learning are evident. The classroom is settled and learning-focused. The teaching principal supports learning with well-considered prompts, strategies and feedback. Relationships between students and with teachers are respectful and supportive. There is a collective responsibility for, and a strong focus on improving student learning, achievement and wellbeing.

Students experience a broad curriculum that is attuned to their interests and providesopportunities to learn in authentic contexts. Learners take advantage of the wide range of experiences available and are able to participate at their level. They are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning and their voice informs and shapes the responsive curriculum. Students are challenged and their success affirmed.

A bicultural perspective is evident through active use of te reo Māori. Te ao Māori is relevant and meaningfully woven through the curriculum, class displays, language prompts and artefacts. There is an emphasis on the role of students through Kaitiaki - tanga, as environmental caretakers.

Strong support from families and the community continues to be a feature of the school. Ongoing communication engages parents in the school, their child’s learning, and in providing and supporting learning opportunities. Within this, there is a focus on the use of community to build connected, confident and actively involved learners.

The school has sound systems and processes to promote equitable outcomes for all children. Comprehensive tracking and data analysis is used, and mid- year 2018 data indicates increasing outcomes for all children across the curriculum. All children and families are well known. Each child’s needs are individually catered for through relevant interventions and a range of internal and external supports that provide assistance and extension opportunities.

The board has sound procedures and practices to effectively meet its stewardship role. Staff set a coherent and aligned strategic plan for school goals, targets and expectations, and how to achieve these. Equity and excellence for all students are given priority, through resourcing and provision of experiences towards meeting the board’s expectation that, “every day is a learning day.” Trustees are well informed about student achievement and progress towards meeting their charter goals. They contribute to inquiry and evaluation with a purposeful and improvement focussed approach.

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

The school’s appraisal process has undergone a number of changes over the past three years with an external provider now providing appraisal. The system needs to be strengthened to include the revised Education Council Standards for the teaching profession, and include a framework for observations and feedback. Continuing to build more rigour should support teachers and leaders to further develop their professional capability.

The curriculum is aligned to the values and key competencies ofThe New Zealand Curriculum. It prioritises literacy and mathematics. Continuing to review and refine the curriculum, and delivery guidelines, should ensure the school’s vision for successful learning is enacted.

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:

  • alignment of strategic planning, teacher’s inquiry, professional development provision and student achievement targets that are focused on improving all students’ outcomes
  • authentic purposeful learning opportunities for all students that reflect a commitment to excellence and equity
  • collaborative relationships between leadership, parents and community that support and enhance students’ learning and wellbeing.

Next steps

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

  • strengthening appraisal systems to monitor and evaluate changes in teacher practice and student outcomes
  • refining the documented curriculum of ‘what happens at Makahu’, to ensure curriculum design and enactment align.

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 Central

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

3 September 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary

School roll


Gender composition

Female 7, Male 6

Ethnic composition

Māori 1
Pākehā 12

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

July 2018

Date of this report

3 September 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2015
Education Review October 2011
Education Review February 2008