Maungakaramea School - 11/07/2019

School Context

Maungakaramea School caters for learners from Years 1 to 8 and is located in the rural village of Maungakaramea, southwest of Whangarei. It currently has a roll of 60 students. Many students’ families have generational connections with the school.

The school vision “Growing our Future,” is underpinned by a set of learning pathways: tino rangatiratanga - learning with determination, manaakitanga - learning with integrity, kaitiakitanga - learning with connection, and kotahitanga - learning with others. These pathways together with the values of genuine, respect, ownership and whānau (GROW), provide guidance for the practices and behaviours of students, staff and trustees.

The school’s strategic goals are to grow academically capable students and develop the whole child through building their wellbeing, resilience and problem-solving capabilities. The board and staff work collaboratively and place a high priority on improving the environment.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • progress and achievement in relation to school targets, including student wellbeing
  • science, digital learning and bicultural practices and the local curriculum incorporating kapa haka.

The 2016 ERO report highlighted that a commissioner was working with the principal to address governance and management issues. Although progress was noted in that report, it concluded with a recommendation for the commissioner to remain a further 12 months to improve relationships and rebuild community confidence in the school. However, following the 2016 ERO report, a new principal was appointed in the final term of 2017, and in April 2018 an elected board was able to take over governance of the school.

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?

The school is working towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes. The principal and staff have made significant progress to ensure that all students achieve positive outcomes.

The school’s achievement information shows that nearly all students achieve at their appropriate curriculum levels in reading. Most also achieve well in writing and mathematics. The principal and teachers provide good support for identified groups of students to help them progress.

The principal’s achievement reporting to the board is useful and timely. Trustees consider the information to ensure that the resources allocated for specific programmes and student learning support are achieving the outcomes they expect.

There are positive and reciprocal relationships between leaders, teachers and learners. Students achieve well in relation to broader valued outcomes. They are generally confident, articulate and demonstrate a sense of belonging. Students are continuing to develop skills such as problem solving, resilience and collaboration. This is enabling them to work well together.

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

Leaders and teachers have good evidence to show that some students, including Māori, are making accelerated progress where necessary.

Recent achievement information indicates that students who identify as Māori achieve very well in mathematics, and they also achieve well in reading and writing. Leaders and teachers use data effectively to identify and plan for students whose achievement needs acceleration. Teachers monitor and modify their programmes and strategies for these students to ensure that students’ identified learning needs are being met.

Lifting achievement for those Māori learners and others who need this has been, and continues to be, one of the school’s strategic goals. Teachers’ and leaders’ focus on and use of culturally responsive teaching practices together with school practices such as kapa haka, the use of te reo Māori and tikanga and tuakana/teina relationships, are all contributing positively to student progress and achievement. The board and leaders value input from whānau who meet regularly to guide school initiatives in te ao Māori. As a result, a strong bicultural strand is woven through students’ learning experiences.

Students with additional learning needs are effectively supported to access the curriculum. Effective support is provided by the Resource Teacher of Learning and Behaviour (RTLB). There is good coordination of external agencies that work together to improve learning. Students benefit from relevant and inclusive learning programmes.

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?

The principal’s leadership has driven the positive developments in the school, and this has been key to the progress made, particularly over the last 18 months.

Leaders collaboratively develop and pursue the school’s vision, goals and targets for equity and excellence. The vision and goals are underpinned by the perspectives and aspirations of whānau, parents, and students. Leaders effectively build relational trust and collaboration across the school community.

The board is active in representing and serving the school and community, despite its relatively short time in operation. Trustees seek relevant advice and resources and have a shared understanding of their roles and responsibilities. The board has developed networks to enable the school to extend and enrich the curriculum and increase student learning opportunities. Trustees review and reflect on how effectively the board is supporting the school’s vision, values and strategic goals.

The school’s curriculum is coherent, inclusive, culturally responsive, and clearly aligned to the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). A strong bicultural focus is a feature of students’ learning experiences. The school’s local curriculum design and enactment ensures that every student is learning and making progress in order to achieve curriculum expectations.

Students have sufficient and equitable opportunities to learn. They experience an environment where their voice is heard. They feel comfortable to take risks that are regarded as opportunities to learn.

Community confidence has been restored. The school identifies and draws on community resources to enhance student learning opportunities, achievement and wellbeing. Parents, whānau and the community are made welcome and involved in school activities. They are viewed as respected and valued partners in their children’s learning.

Leaders and teachers share high, clear and equitable expectations for student learning, progress and achievement, and wellbeing. Teachers use systematic and collaborative processes to inquire into their own practice. They share evidence-based practices that work to accelerate student progress and lift achievement.

Leaders have created conditions that promote teacher evaluation, inquiry and knowledge building. Evaluations are carried out systematically to identify what is working well and decide on the appropriate next steps to make further improvement. Leaders’ focus on continuous improvement is evident, and is effective in sustaining and building on developments.

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

Leaders agree that in order to continue developing the school’s processes and practices for achieving equity and excellence, their priorities are:

  • to strengthen evaluation practices so that leaders and teachers can clearly identify the “added value” that programmes and strategies contribute to students’ progress and achievement
  • to work with teachers to develop their confidence in using robust assessment tools, particularly for reading assessment, in order to provide more fine grained and accurate assessment data
  • to continue building students’ ownership and understanding of their learning, progress and achievement so that they can lead their own learning.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

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

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:

  • effective and growing leadership at the governance and management levels
  • the provision of a broad, responsive curriculum and opportunities for students to learn, progress and achieve
  • coherent organisational practices and processes that promote equitable outcomes for learners
  • the foundation of relational trust that exists and is focused on respectful learning partnerships for promoting and enriching student learning
  • leaders’ understanding of evaluation that focuses on continuous improvement.

Next steps

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

  • strengthening evaluation practices, particularly in relation to being able to identify rates of student progress to confirm the “added value” the school provides
  • strengthening assessment practices in reading by using norm referenced assessment tools
  • continuing to build students’ ownership and understanding of their learning so that they can increasingly lead their own learning.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

11 July 2019

About the school


Maungakaramea, Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full primary (Years 1-8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 39 Girls 21

Ethnic composition

Māori 7
NZ European/Pākehā 49
other ethnic groups 4

Review team on site

May 2019

Date of this report

11 July 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review January 2016
Education Review December 2012
Education Review December 2009