Mararoa School - 14/09/2016

1 Context

Mararoa is a small, rural Years 1 to 8 school. Most children travel by bus each day from surrounding farms and towns.

Children learn in multi-level classes. Physical activity, sustainable environmental practices and valuing the local context are prioritised in their learning. The board and parents fund a third teacher for the mornings. This way class sizes are kept small for literacy and mathematics.

The principal is also a classroom teacher in the school. She and two other teachers have worked in the school for many years.

The school is an important part of the community. It is very well supported by parents and community members who assist with out-of-school trips, sports and in-class learning.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school are for all children to become confident, connected, actively involved, life-long learners. The school wants its children to be positive and responsible learners, who care about others, themselves and the environment.

The school’s achievement information shows that most children achieve very well in reading, writing and mathematics. In 2015 over 85% of students achieved at or above the National Standards in these areas. These standards have been maintained over the last three years.

The school has made excellent progress against the recommendations in the 2013 ERO report. It is working with a cluster of schools to improve inter-school collaboration, share ideas and resources and improve access to professional learning.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has:

  • worked with children to better involve them in assessing their work and setting useful learning goals
  • sought professional learning linked to the annual targets
  • maintained regular review/evaluation of learning programmes and made ongoing improvements to these
  • adapted the inquiry approach to topic learning so that it focuses more on thinking skills
  • introduced new programmes for Years 7 and 8 children to engage and challenge them.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school responds immediately to any child whose learning needs extra support. Teachers know each child very well as a learner and as an individual. Any child at risk of not achieving or progressing sufficiently is quickly identified. These children benefit from intensive instruction. Their progress is closely monitored and shared with parents.

The school has set challenging and measurable targets to lift the achievement of some groups of children. Specific actions are taken to achieve these target. As a result, almost all of these children make accelerated progress. Professional learning strongly aligns to target areas and the learning needs of children.

Teachers work collaboratively with parents, particularly to help those children requiring extra support to achieve. Parents are well informed about their child’s progress and achievement against the National Standards. They are involved in regular discussions about their child’s learning goals and next steps, and how they can best help them.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The school's curriculum, systems and practices very effectively support children in their learning and realising the school's vision.

Teachers make frequent use of the local context and resources to enrich children's learning. Children benefit from a range of engaging experiences and targeted support to help them achieve in their learning and be prepared for 'their life's journey' beyond school. They enjoy many opportunities for hands-on learning in and out of the classroom.

Teachers closely monitor all children's learning. The learning programmes are adapted to meet children's interests, strengths and current needs. For example, the Year 7 and 8 programme was changed to have a stronger focus on leadership and preparation for high school. Children take increasing responsibility for managing their own learning as they progress through the school.

Children told ERO they feel safe and included at their school. Their views are regularly sought and responded to. Teachers ensure that the school's values are an integral part of all children's daily learning, in and beyond the classroom.

The board, principal and teachers have a strong focus on ongoing improvement. Teachers' individual strengths are well used and built on. They are well supported to build their professional practice and ensure effective teaching and learning. Teachers work collaboratively, sharing their expertise and information in the best interests of the children.

Effective systems and guidelines ensure theschool's smooth operation, with well-embedded processes for planning, assessing and evaluating children's progress. This helps teachers make well-informed judgements and decisions about teaching and learning.

The school is ably governed and led. Trustees have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities. They are well informed and future focused. The experienced principal and senior teacher provide strong leadership for teaching and learning. Resources are well managed and decisions appropriately made with the best interests of staff, students and community in mind.

The principal and board of trustees agree on the need to strengthen how bicultural Aotearoa/New Zealand is reflected and promoted. They need to review programmes, policies and practices to ensure more meaningful inclusion of te reo and tikanga Māori at all levels of the school.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Teachers develop very positive relationships for learning with the children and their parents. Children benefit from interesting and relevant learning in and out of the classroom and a strong foundation in literacy and mathematics. This is ensuring their success as learners and preparing them for life beyond school.

There is a strong commitment from the board, leadership and teachers to well-informed and ongoing improvement. Robust practices and systems support this. As a result, this is a high performing school.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • 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
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance
  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014. 

7 Recommendation

School leaders need to strengthen the way bicultural Aotearoa/New Zealand values are reflected and promoted across the school.

Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

14 September 2016 

About the school


Te Anau

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 25 Girls 19

Ethnic composition





Review team on site

July 2016

Date of this report

14 September 2016

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

July 2013

February 2010

November 2006