Matakohe School - 21/10/2016

1 Context

Matakohe School is located in the Kaipara district of Northland. Established in 1878, it has a long proud history, strong intergenerational connections and significant links with the community. The school shares its extensive grounds and facilities with the community. The school roll has declined in recent years reflecting the area's changing demographics. A new principal was appointed in 2015. She works collaboratively with the board of trustees and staff to promote ongoing improvement and positive learning outcomes for all children.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to develop resourceful self-managing learners who can contribute to sustainable communities. There is a focus on excellence, and high expectations together with building children's resilience, integrity, respect and curiosity. The school also aims to grow children's understanding and appreciation of diversity, community and sustainability. In addition, the principles of 'participation', 'protection', and 'partnership' are actively promoted. There is good alignment between the school's vision, values and principles, its strategic and curriculum plans and The New Zealand Curriculum.

The school’s achievement information shows that just over half of all children achieve at or above the National Standard in reading, writing, and mathematics. The cohort of Māori children is achieving at similar levels to the rest of the school in reading and writing and slightly better than their non-Māori peers in mathematics. There are some gender-based differences in achievement. The overall achievement of girls exceeds that of boys in writing. The board and school staff are focused on developing a range of interventions and programmes to address achievement disparities and to support children whose learning progress needs accelerating.

The school's moderation processes have been strengthened to ensure that teachers are making reliable overall teacher judgements about achievement in relation to National Standards. The principal is currently exploring how the Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT) could help to further develop and strengthen the school's moderation processes.

Since the 2013 ERO evaluation the school has:

  • appointed a new principal
  • used community consultation to review the school curriculum plan
  • accessed relevant literacy professional learning development for teachers
  • developed a 'graduate profile' that defines the proficiencies and expectations for children when they leave at the end of Year 8
  • used staff expertise to develop a sequential te reo Māori programme.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school has a focus on responding to children's achievement through a range of well-planned interventions and strategies. The board of trustees, principal and teachers are all aware that it is urgent to accelerate the achievement of children who are achieving below the National Standards. The principal and teachers have a clearly documented definition and understanding of acceleration.

In 2016, leaders and teachers developed and continue to refine plans and systems to identify and prioritise support for children who are at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes. Ongoing evaluation of these plans should further promote and enhance school-wide, collective responsibility for accelerating achievement. It should also help to build a stronger professional teaching and learning community.

The Board of Trustees has set achievement targets to accelerate the progress and achievement of identified children in reading and writing. ERO affirms the school's intention to refine these targets to include children at all year levels who are not yet at the required National Standard.

Recent professional development has helped teachers to make increasingly good use of achievement data to plan more effectively targeted classroom literacy and mathematics programmes. Some teachers are very clearly documenting the initiatives and different approaches they are using to accelerate children's learning progress.

Leaders and teachers know the children and their whānau well. They also have clear and coherent systems and procedures to record and respond to children's individual strengths and learning goals. Children benefit from teachers' detailed knowledge of them as individual learners.

The principal ensures that children with additional learning needs receive tailored learning support. The school accesses appropriate support for children from external agencies. Individual learning plans are now being prepared for a wider range of children who need to make accelerated progress. Maintaining and monitoring records of these children's achievement will help the school ensure that the progress they make is sustained over time.

The school recognises that raising teacher and learner expectations is integral to improving children's achievement. The principal and teachers are continuing to build a culture of high expectations and collective responsibility for the progress and achievement of children.

Children in all classes set reading, writing and maths learning goals, and share these with their parents. Helping children to set appropriate learning goals and understand their achievement levels and next learning steps should further contribute to improved learner outcomes.

The school has numerous strategies and interventions to accelerate children's achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. These initiatives include classroom-based interventions with class teachers and support programmes delivered by teacher aides, who provide effective additional learning support for literacy and mathematics. Children's engagement with their learning is supported and enhanced by these strategies.

The school provides specialist reading recovery programmes and implements a school-wide buddy reading programme. The planned refinement and further development of these programmes has the potential to increase their effectiveness and further improve children's reading.

The school's analysis of mid-year interim school achievement information for 2016 shows that some children are making accelerated progress in reading, writing and mathematics. It would now be useful to evaluate the effectiveness of the various acceleration programmes and practices and consider the impact they are having on children's progress and achievement.

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?

Matakohe School's curriculum and organisational processes are effective.

Since the 2013 ERO report the school has aligned the school's vision, values and principles through the charter, annual plan and curriculum plan. The curriculum plan has been reviewed and reflects The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). It appropriately prioritises reading, writing and mathematics as the foundations of learning. It provides a strong platform to guide further teaching and learning developments. The inclusion of a graduate profile in the curriculum is a useful initiative that should help children in senior classes to further develop a sense of owning their learning. The school appropriately plans to further develop the curriculum to include a school-wide inquiry model to give children greater opportunities to shape and lead their learning.

Children benefit from a curriculum that places an emphasis on community involvement, education outside the classroom (EOTC) and water skills. Key features of the programme include:

  • children from the age of five all experience an annual overnight camp
  • a summer community afternoon swimming programme
  • a Friday afternoon options programme for all children led by teachers and parent/ community volunteers

Children are confident, friendly, respectful and caring of each other. They have a strong sense of belonging and tuakana/teina relationships. Children who spoke with ERO value the choices available in the options programme, have a real pride in their school and appreciate the recent increase in leadership opportunities for them.

The school recognises the positive impact that bicultural practices, curriculum content and the use of te reo Māori have on Māori students. The school has appropriately allocated time for a teacher who speaks te reo Māori to develop a sequential programme for te reo me ōna tikanga Māori. This programme is designed so that all teachers can implement it with their classes. This initiative is likely to build both the children's and teachers' knowledge and capability and help affirm and promote Māori students' pride in their language, culture and identity.

Strong connections between home and school contribute to children's sense of belonging, emotional security, and engagement in learning. The school promotes a welcoming and inclusive environment for children and their whānau. Parents who spoke with ERO greatly value the staff and the knowledge and understanding they have of their children. Parents value the open and honest learning conversations they have with staff. They feel well informed and receive useful written reports about their child's learning.

The leadership of the school is effective. The principal is very deliberate in her role as the 'leader of learning'. She has a clear focus on raising expectations and achievement, and maintains a line of sight across all children's progress and achievement. Good systems have been developed to identify, track, and monitor the progress of children who need to make accelerated progress. The board of trustees receive comprehensive reports about children's overall progress and achievement.

Some teachers are using effective systems and teaching practices to help students to monitor and track their own progress and achievement, and identify their next learning steps. Making these systems and practices more consistently evident across all classes would build on the school's language of learning and graduate profile strategies.

Building the professional capacity of staff and their collective responsibility for raising children's achievement, continues to be the focus of professional development initiatives. The appraisal process has been strengthened, and with further refinement and embedding it should enhance the professional capability of teachers.

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.

Matakoke School is well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

The board is representative of the school's community and has very good educational networks to access when required. Trustees have a trusting, positive and effective working relationship with the principal and have the "child at the heart" of their thinking. They have a clear understanding of student progress, achievement and acceleration. They share the principal's sense of urgency in relation to accelerating children's progress, and a strong commitment to improved learning and equitable outcomes for children.

Trustees make good use of achievement information to make strategic resourcing decisions. The board is responsive to the needs of the community and facilitates active participation in the life of school on the part of parents, whānau and the wider community.

Children's learning and wellbeing are central to all decision making. There is a strong sense of a collective commitment to raising children's achievement. Processes for identifying and monitoring overall achievement, and that of specific children, are continually being refined. This is likely to help leaders and teachers achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

The School and ERO have identified relevant priorities and plans for ongoing development that include:

  • continuing to refine the school's raising achievement plans to accelerate the progress of all children in reading, writing and maths
  • using internal evaluation to identify strategies that are successfully accelerating children's progress
  • using educational networks and external expertise to research and consider other possible acceleration programmes and strategies
  • using the appraisal process and practicing teacher criteria to further improve the quality and consistency of teaching and learning across the school
  • building on the school's curriculum plan and 'language of learning' strategies to develop a school-wide inquiry model for children.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three 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

ERO recommends that the school continues to respond to the challenges identified in the school's raising achievement plan, to accelerate the progress of children in reading, writing and maths.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

21 October 2016

About the school


Matakohe, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 30 Boys 35

Ethnic composition

Māori Pākehā

20 45

Review team on site

August 2016

Date of this report

21 October 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2013

November 2010

September 2007