Makaraka School - 09/04/2019

School Context

Makaraka School is a semi-rural school on the southern outskirts of Gisborne. The roll of 126 Years 1 to 6 students includes 42% who identify as Māori.

The school’s valued outcomes are for learners to be provided with foundational learning and be supported within a learning community which builds connections and fosters curiosity, creativity and risk-taking. Agreed values promoted are: Kia kaha – show courage; Kia maia – stand proud, Kia manawanui – have a heart; tuku patai – curiosity.

Current achievement targets set are for 95% of learners to be at or above their curriculum expectation in reading, writing and mathematics; for boys at risk to accelerate their learning progress in literacy; and for students at risk in Year 3 to accelerate their progress in mathematics.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • attendance.

Ongoing external Professional Learning and Development (PLD) supports teachers’ practice and curriculum development in learner agency, play-based learning and e-learning.

Students regularly participate in a wide range of community arts, sporting and cultural events. The school is an Enviro School and a member of the Taha Tinana (Gisborne) Kāhui Ako. The school has a positive reporting history with ERO.

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 continue to achieve at curriculum expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. Māori students achieve as well as or better than other groups. Boys’ disparity in literacy continues to be reduced.

Nearly all children achieved at or above expectations in 2018 in the three learning areas. A large proportion of the 2018 Year 6 cohort achieved above expectation in all areas.

Students with additional learning needs are effectively identified and well supported through responsive strategies. The special education needs coordinator has recently strengthened systems for monitoring and sharing information.

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

The school effectively identifies students who require accelerating, provides them with a range of support and monitors their progress. Trustees, leaders and teachers have an appropriate focus on accelerating progress and reducing disparity. Targets are set to address disparity and raise achievement for boys in literacy and for at risk cohorts.

Teachers deliberately focus on accelerating the progress of targeted students through well-implemented teacher inquiry processes. In 2018, most of these students made accelerated progress in all three learning areas.

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?

There is a clear, schoolwide focus on promoting equitable and excellent outcomes for learners. Trustees, leaders and teachers successfully promote the school’s vision for learning, ongoing improvement and positive outcomes for learners. They work collaboratively to establish agreed priorities and deliberate actions. Improved alignment between systems, processes and practices is strengthening their approach to improvement and supporting the implementation of strategic goals.

Well-defined priorities for learning, developed in collaboration with trustees and the community, effectively guide learning and teaching. Provision of a responsive curriculum, based on meaningful, authentic and localised experiences, results in students’ engagement and success. A clear emphasis on risk-taking, local connectedness, school values and student agency promotes students’ meaningful participation in learning. A wide range of excursions, competitions, cultural experiences, community events and celebrations are purposefully integrated into learning.

Māori learners are well supported to be successful and take pride in their identity, language and culture. Māori ways of being and knowing are strongly valued and effectively promoted throughout the curriculum. Learning experiences are framed by and well-grounded in local stories, concepts and sites of cultural significance to Māori.

Trustees, leaders and teachers actively seek expertise and information to strengthen and enrich teaching and learning. A positive culture of collegial support, critique and innovation is evident. Teachers are well supported to examine and share their teaching practice. A well-considered approach to PLD provides opportunities to develop rich, clearly defined understandings of effective pedagogy. Useful systems and effective leadership help to embed new learnings in classroom practice. A well-developed appraisal process supports school priorities and promotes teacher development.

A strong sense of community and belonging is valued and promoted. Well-established community connections and networks support school operation, enrich the curriculum and promotes success for learners.

Trustees work collaboratively and purposefully to enact their responsibilities, support school operation and priorities, and promote positive outcomes for learners and their families. Useful, well-defined systems and practices result in cohesive action to promote ongoing improvement. Data is regularly shared to support trustees’ understanding of impact and guide decision-making. Newly refined priorities provide a useful framework for strategic planning and for the evaluation of outcomes. The board continues to prioritise the implementation of strategies to improve the safety of children and families for daily access to the school grounds.

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

School leaders and trustees carefully consider the impact of actions and interventions to guide decision-making and improvement. A next step is to implement a clear framework for undertaking internal evaluation to better show the effectiveness of actions and interventions on outcomes for students. This should include documenting the analysis and interpretation of evidence gathered in relation to a specific evaluative focus.

Continuing to align assessment systems, practices and reporting should help to better show how well students are accelerating progress in relation to curriculum expectations and targets.

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 ERO’s Overall Judgement

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

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:

  • a clear, schoolwide focus on achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for learners
  • provision of a responsive curriculum, based on meaningful, authentic and localised experiences
  • improvement-focused and collaborative leaders and trustees, who work effectively with their community.

Next steps

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

  • refining systems for analysis and reporting of rates of progress
  • internal evaluation processes.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

9 April 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing Primary, Years 1 to 6

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 51%, Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 42%
NZ European/Pākehā 57%
Other ethnic groups 1%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

February 2019

Date of this report

9 April 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review December 2014
Education Review December 2010