Makarika School - 23/07/2013

1 Context

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

Ko Hikurangi te maunga

Ko Mata te awa

Ko Rongohaere me Rongo i te Kai ngā marae.”

Makarika School is an isolated, rural, school that provides good quality education for 38 students who are of Ngāti Porou descent. Makarika Valley is embraced by Aorangi and Hikurangi mountains and is situated near Ruatoria. The memorandum of agreement between ERO and Te Runanga O Ngāti Porou provides the evaluation framework for aspects of the review of Makarika School.

The school is strengthened through intergenerational links. Students come from a wide catchment area. They have many opportunities to learn about the unique natural environment and conservation practices through an interesting variety of practical experiences. The school is well maintained and set in attractive, spacious grounds that include adventure areas, a swimming pool and vegetable and flower gardens tended by the students.

Since the May 2010 ERO review the school principal and board chairperson have continued in their roles. The school has experienced significant change and loss due to the bereavements of several teaching staff and a board member. In addition, the closure of a nearby school has led to emotional stress for students and an increase in the roll. The valley is prone to flooding and has experienced some extreme weather patterns. The impact of these disruptions has led to the principal placing priority on maintaining an environment where student learning and holistic wellbeing are the focus. The school provides a settled atmosphere where students understand the expectations for behaviour and learning. An early childhood Puna (playgroup) operates in the school two days a week. This group is contributing to a sense of belonging, which is evident when children and their families transition into the school programme.

The school has made good progress with the areas for development and review identified in the May 2010 report. There have been significant improvements and upgrades to the indoor and outdoor environments, which have benefitted students, teachers and the community. Trustees have used a variety of ways to gather and respond to student and parent views about a range of issues.

Teachers are participating in ongoing professional learning and development from an experienced Resource Teacher of Literacy (RTLit) and an external facilitator of mathematics. As a result of several changes in teaching staff, the principal recognises the importance of documenting, consolidating and embedding expectations for good teaching practice, particularly in the junior school. The principal continues to maintain ongoing contact with other principals from nearby schools. Her recent professional learning has included leadership and assessment, as well as information and communication technologies (ICT).

2 Learning

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

Teachers continue to improve their understanding and knowledge about the use of achievement information. With external support, teachers have developed effective systems to track the progress of students in reading, writing and mathematics through clearly defined learning progressions. School records indicate that many of these students are making good progress. The school reports that in 2012 most students achieved at or above National Standards in reading and writing. Just over half of the students achieved at the National Standard in mathematics. School data shows that students who remain at the school over time make good progress in their learning.

The principal reports on student achievement information to the board and the community. This information is used to develop charter targets and to identify students needing additional support programmes. Parents are informed about student progress through written reports and regular parent/teacher interviews, as well as informal conversations. Samples of student work are assembled in attractive files to share with whānau of senior students. A further development would be to annotate these or make use of exemplars to show student progress towards specific goals.

Students have many opportunities to demonstrate success in their learning through oral and practical applications. They would benefit from setting clear goals for their learning and receiving ongoing information about their progress and next learning steps in aspects of literacy and mathematics. There is a need for teachers to more effectively use achievement information to inform their daily teaching programme, inquire into their practice, and further empower students in their learning.

3 Curriculum

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

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

The Makarika curriculum is well designed to engage students in learning. It reflects the priority placed on student success and holistic wellbeing in a culturally responsive context. Students participate in an integrated learning programme that incorporates Ngāti Porou history and culture technology, science and life skills. The programme is facilitated by experienced, knowledgeable pakeke (educators). Students enjoy a wide variety of sporting, cultural and education outside the classroom opportunities. The school fosters the concept of tuakana/teina relationships to promote student capability, responsibility and leadership skills.

Teachers have established a positive whānau atmosphere, share their strengths and undertake regular professional learning together. They know students and their whānau well.

ERO observed some examples of good teaching practices that included:

  • promotion of children’s sense of belonging, pride and identity as Ngāti Porou descendants
  • well-planned, integrated and highly motivating learning experiences for senior students
  • effective teacher modelling
  • good use of student’s prior knowledge and revisiting learning
  • increasing opportunities to integrate information and communication technologies (ICT) for learning and research.

The principal has a strategic goal to strengthen the appraisal system. An important next step is for the principal and teachers to clearly define agreed and shared expectations for teaching and learning. This should include developing measureable appraisal goals that reflect best practice for teachers of Māori learners as defined in Tātaiako and linked to goals for target students. Teachers should receive clear and regular feedback and feed forward about their teaching practice in relation to these.

ERO and the principal agree that priorities for school development are to continue to:

  • build teacher knowledge of Ngāti Porou culture and history
  • implement a sequential Māori language programme across the school
  • seek ongoing support from the RTLit and mathematics facilitators to develop teachers’ content knowledge and their understanding of teaching as inquiry.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Makarika School is well placed to sustain and improve its performance due to:

  • a clearly identified strategic direction for school development and improvement
  • effective leadership from an experienced and resilient principal, who is dedicated to positive outcomes for students and whānau
  • teachers committed to establishing a community of learners
  • enthusiastic trustees working in a positive partnership with teachers and whānau to raise achievement and promote success for students.

The school has some good processes for self review and regularly consults with students and whānau about relevant issues.

ERO and school leaders agree that next steps for review and development are to:

  • review the school’s vision statement in consultation with the community
  • seek ongoing training and support for trustees’ roles and responsibilities.

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

23 July 2013

About the School


Makarika, near Ruatoria

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 26

Girls 12

Ethnic composition



Review team on site

May 2013

Date of this report

23 July 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2010

June 2006

April 2003