Mararoa School - 15/07/2013

1 Context

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

Mararoa School is a small rural school providing education for students in Years 1 to 8. All students travel to school by bus. They enjoy the school’s family atmosphere with students of all ages interacting positively with one another. Warm, supportive relationships between staff and students create a positive tone, build students’ self-esteem and help them enjoy their time at school.

Students benefit from small class sizes and high levels of one-to-one support for their learning. A recent drop in the roll has meant the school has moved from having three classes to two. The board is committed to resourcing extra staffing so that all students are well supported in their learning in this new class structure.

The experienced principal and staff work as a cohesive team to make learning enjoyable and engaging for students.

There are strong links between home and school. The teachers have a focus on knowing the students well, responding to their interests and meeting their needs. They communicate regularly and effectively with parents. The school benefits from strong parent support, with other members of the community contributing to students’ learning in a variety of ways.

2 Learning

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

Very good use is made of achievement information across the school to make positive improvements for students.

Areas of strength

Students show high levels of active involvement in their learning. Students who spoke to ERO could talk confidently about their learning, their goals for improvement, and what they need to do to achieve these goals. They know how the school values independence and what teachers do to help students develop this quality in the way they learn. They benefit from classroom environments that are purposeful, well organised and settled.

Teachers have a very thorough understanding and knowledge of students and their learning needs so they can best plan for and support their learning.

Teachers make very good use of assessment information. They:

  • inform parents about how well their children are meeting their goals to achieve well in reading, writing and mathematics
  • identify students who would benefit from learning support to help them make accelerated progress
  • ensure learning support is well planned to benefit students as effectively as possible
  • provide useful feedback to students so they know what they need to do to improve
  • monitor students’ achievement levels and make changes to the programme as the need arises.

The principal and teachers collate and analyse the achievement information well. The board receives a wide range of information in a useful format about students’ learning.

The principal and trustees use learning information well to:

  • set annual achievement targets and allocate resources to achieve these targets
  • monitor and evaluate how well teachers’ actions are working to meet those targets
  • provide regular reports to the community about student achievement.

Area for review and development

Next steps for strengthening learning should include extending the ways students are involved in discussions about their progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports learning. Teachers ensure priority is given to literacy and numeracy. Students also have good opportunities to succeed in all other learning areas.

Teachers purposefully involve the school’s community to ensure that learning is not limited to the local setting and is relevant to students’ interests and abilities. Students enjoy a wide range of opportunities to learn in contexts beyond the school, such as trips and other sporting, cultural and social experiences. Students benefit from a strong, regular focus on being active, healthy and involved in a range of physical activities.

There is a strong emphasis on learning about the local environment, particularly the nearby national park. This encourages students to enjoy knowing more about and taking greater responsibility for the environment.

Students’ learning is further supported by:

  • the values of caring for self and others
  • a shared understanding of what success looks like through locally developed ‘keys for life’s learning journey’.

Students learn in an environment where high expectations for learning and behaviour ensure a positive learning focus. Students benefit from very good quality teaching. Teachers:

  • share the purpose of learning with students
  • revisit prior learning and make links to new learning
  • plan appropriate programmes to meet the needs, abilities, interests of students
  • place an appropriate focus on accelerating progress for those students at risk of not making sufficient progress.

The principal:

  • has developed agreed guidelines for all aspects of curriculum
  • regularly discusses with teachers how well they implement these guidelines
  • ensures teachers regularly reflect on and discuss how they might strengthen their practices
  • leads rigorous review of aspects of curriculum, such as literacy and mathematics.

Area for review and development

The principal identifies, and ERO agrees, that the next aspects of the curriculum that should be reviewed are:

  • mathematics
  • inquiry learning
  • how well learning approaches and programmes support students to become increasingly independent learners.

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

The school is supporting strategies to promote success for Māori students.

Trustees and the principal:

  • know how well Māori students are achieving and progressing
  • set targets to accelerate progress for any students who need to make accelerated progress
  • continue to consult with their Māori families in a culturally appropriate way.

The principal and teachers:

  • are actively finding ways for Māori students to be more aware of their identity as Māori
  • have developed a te reo Māori programme so that all students receive regular learning in the language
  • plan for and include, where appropriate, a Māori perspective in learning programmes.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The board is governing the school well. Trustees appropriately focus their efforts on planning for the future and improving provision for students’ learning.

The board and principal have developed comprehensive guidelines and plans for school-wide self review of governance and the curriculum. These plans and guidelines ensure trustees:

  • maintain a focus on continuous improvement
  • gather information from a good variety of sources
  • explore what is so, why it is so, and what next
  • plan effectively for the current year and the years ahead.

The school provides resources and professional learning and development that link to the school’s goals and learning priorities. Trustees effectively monitor the use of resourcing to ensure there is a positive impact on improving outcomes for students. Trustees are well informed about how well students achieve and the effectiveness of strategies to increase students’ rates of progress.

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.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

15 July 2013

About the School


The Key, Fiordland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male: 24 Female: 18

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā




Review team on site

April 2013

Date of this report

15 July 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2010

November 2006

July 2003