Muriwai School - 17/08/2015


Muriwai School is a rural school with one rumaki and one bilingual class. Most families link to Ngāi Tāmanuhiri and high expectations that students will succeed in education as Māori are evident. Community involvement is considerable. Next steps include: establishing a curriculum; better targeting of teaching for students not achieving; and strengthening self review and associated reporting.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years

1 Context

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

Te Kura o Te Muriwai, located south of Gisborne, caters for students from Years 1 to 8. Almost all students identify as Māori. Most families have links to Ngāi Tāmanuhiri. Whānau choose for their tamariki to learn in one of two classes, rumaki or bilingual.

Muriwai School is the only school within the iwi area and is seen as significant for the transfer of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori specific to Te Iwi o Ngāi Tāmanuhiri. It is expected students will succeed and be strong advocates for their iwi, with knowledge of the history, culture and identity of the area.

Student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics continues to be assessed in relation to Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori, the national standards for Te Marautanga o Aotearoa (the Māori medium curriculum), in the rumaki class. In the bilingual class, students are assessed in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to the National Standards for The New Zealand Curriculum (the English medium curriculum).

External providers support the teaching staff with appropriate professional development focusing on positive learning outcomes for students.

The September 2012 ERO reported that the whānau atmosphere in the school contributed to the friendly, healthy environment. This continues to be the school strength.

2 Learning

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

The use of student achievement information, and moderation of overall teacher judgments (OTJs) for determining learner progress and achievement against National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori, needs further development.

The school reports that some students achieve high levels in relation to National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga in writing and mathematics. Data indicates that in both classes reading needs to improve.

In both classes school data shows that, although some students make expected academic progress, others need considerable support to reach the expectations of National Standards or Ngā Whanaketanga. Trustees are aware of this concern and, to assist board resourcing decisions, they continually inquire and challenge the principal about the progress of groups of students.

Teachers must, with some urgency, set specific, realistic goals and have focused planning for those identified target students who are not achieving. A process for evaluating the effectiveness of teaching strategies to improve outcomes for these students requires immediate attention.

The school measures the success of ongoing engagement through students’ regular attendance, participation in leadership opportunities and demonstration of the school values. Teachers make deliberate decisions about how they will teach to increase all students’ engagement in learning. Some strategies used are recognised by students as successful in engaging them.

3 Curriculum

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

The current programmes of learning respond to students’ interests, iwi aspirations and relevant community events. These appropriately incorporate and build on learners’ prior and ongoing experiences. Students’ competence in digital technology is fostered.

Whaia te Taumata- Be and Do our Very Best is the school vision. The values are: aroha tetahi ki tetahi-to be respectful; manaaki tangata-to be caring; and kia ngakau mahaki-to be appreciative. These are encapsulated and highly visible in daily learning.

The principal has collated programmes of learning into a “redeveloped curriculum”. This is ready for consultation with teachers, trustees, whānau and iwi. Consultation is a priority. This curriculum, when refined as the result of consultation, should further contribute to the positive and constructive learning environment. Local history is incorporated in the redeveloped curriculum, for both classes. This is considered to be of high importance, alongside literacy and numeracy.

The principal and staff should ensure that the proposed curriculum:

  • provides guidelines that are comprehensive

  • outlines a cohesive progression of learning for students as they move through their education

  • clearly outlines expectations for, and monitoring of, outcomes for students.

Work is needed on a process to evaluate how effectively the school’s curriculum promotes students’ learning.

An initiative is underway to increase progress and achievement in literacy, numeracy and te reo Māori. Trustees, staff and students expect positive outcomes from this well-considered initiative. This trial has yet to be evaluated to determine its effectiveness in raising achievement.

Students cooperate, helping each other academically and socially. The practice of tuakana teina is evident and at times initiated by students themselves. Students have positive relationships with staff. Students’ wellbeing and sense of self worth is nurtured. They demonstrate a sense of belonging and connection to the class, school, friends and the wider community.

Both classes have topic-related activities that are planned cooperatively and interrelated and this gives the sense that all students belong to one school.

Trustees are addressing the complexities and challenges of operating two, Years 1 to 8, classes by employing additional teacher aides to support teaching in the classrooms. It is the role of the teacher to plan for and assess students’ progress and must remain so. The effectiveness of this support has yet to be evaluated.

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

High expectations that students will succeed in education as Māori is evident. Success for Māori as Māori is determined by the graduate profile defined by the teaching staff, whānau and community. Clear, stated expectations for the holistic achievement of students are seen in the daily life of the school. Students use and understanding of te reo Māori supports their identity and culture as the children of Te Iwi o Ngāi Tāmanuhiri. Students know who they are and where they belong.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The board is in the process of rebuilding, with newly elected and co-opted trustees. The board has a commitment to improving student achievement. Trustees attend training together and this has contributed to understanding their roles and the principles of governance.

Trustees and staff are determined to sustain gains made, and improve their performance, through developing better systems for targeting specific groups of students who are at risk of not achieving.

Teachers value working together in professional development. They discuss teaching methods and collaboratively plan for student learning. The principal has a clear direction for the school.

The appraisal system for the principal and staff is under review. This provides the board with an opportunity to ensure that the principal has a sufficiently robust appraisal process that contributes to his continual growth as a leader in assessment and curriculum matters. Trustees are determined to improve the appraisal process so that it is ongoing, robust, focused and useful. ERO’s evaluation affirms this direction.

The school has an inclusive culture. Staff attend to students’ wellbeing needs with understanding and empathy. External agencies are used for advice as appropriate. Students’ needs are paramount.

Whānau are engaged in student learning. Three-way conferences and other opportunities for students, staff and whānau to meet are well attended. Learning conversations between teachers and whānau, support students’ learning.

Next steps

The principal must provide leadership for improvement.

The next steps are:

  • for the principal and staff to seek ongoing professional support to develop skills in analysing and interpreting data gathered from National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga. This should include opportunities for teachers to moderate student achievement results and extend this practice with other schools

  • for the principal to work with teachers, trustees, whānau and iwi on the Muriwai School Curriculum, so that expectations for teaching and learning are clear

  • for the principal to set up a review process to gauge the effectiveness of the curriculum

  • for the principal and teachers to provide the board with high quality information about how well the curriculum and newly implemented initiatives support student engagement, progress and achievement

  • to strengthen the appraisal processes, including for the principal, and focus on the progress of target students

  • for the principal to lead evaluation of the effectiveness of strategies that teachers use to accelerate students' learning.

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.

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education provides support to assist the principal and staff with assessing student achievement in relation to the National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga and further develop the curriculum.


Muriwai School is a rural school with one rumaki and one bilingual class. Most families link to Ngāi Tāmanuhiri and high expectations that students will succeed in education as Māori are evident. Community involvement is considerable. Next steps include: establishing a curriculum; better targeting of teaching for students not achieving; and strengthening self review and associated reporting.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 17, Male 17

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā


Special Features

One rumaki class and one bilingual class

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

17 August 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

September 2012
May 2009
May 2008