Murupara Area School - 28/05/2018


Murupara Area School has made significant progress in all areas identified for review and development. The leadership team is working cohesively with staff, trustees, whānau, iwi and the community to provide better educational outcomes for students. Students are working in a calm, settled environment conducive to learning.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Murupara Area School opened as a new re-designated school in 2013 as a result of the merger between the local primary and secondary schools. In 2014, as part of ERO’s New School’s Assurance process, the review found the board and staff faced significant operating challenges. This continued to be an issue in the ERO review of 2015. A new senior leadership team including the principal, deputy principal and assistant principal was subsequently appointed. During this period, a Limited Statutory Manager (LSM), appointed by the Ministry of Education, has supported the board and principal with governance, finance and personnel matters.

Most students affiliate to Ngāti Manawa and the values of integrity, respect, aroha, whanaungatanga, kotahitanga and ako are highly evident in the school. The school is supported by the whakaruruhau that are active in the community, providing pastoral care networks as well as advising in all aspects of Ngāti Manawatanga kawa, reo and tikanga Māori. In 2016, innovative learning facilities, including the gymnasium built in partnership with the community, were completed to enhance teaching and learning and the physical environment.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

  • assessment capability and moderation in Years 1-13
  • targets and action plans to accelerate at-risk learners
  • curriculum review and delivery
  • student agency
  • teaching and learning practices
  • governance
  • internal evaluation
  • performance management including appraisal.


There has been significant progress made in all areas identified for review and development including some noticeable improvements in school culture. ERO observed students working in a calm and settled environment. New appointments to the senior leadership team bring a range of complementary skills and leaders work well together. The new board chair and trustees have established a positive working relationship with the LSM. The school has set clear, specific and achievable targets.

Assessment capability and moderation Years 1- 13

The reliability and dependability of overall teacher judgements has been strengthened. Leaders have implemented appropriate systems and processes to support teachers to build their assessment and moderation capability. Ongoing moderation across the junior school has improved the consistency and validity of teacher judgements. In the senior school, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) has improved confidence in the reliability of the school’s National Certificate of Education Achievement (NCEA) assessments and grades and has put the school back on its regular review cycle. Leaders are building teacher capability in the use of the Learning Progressions Framework (LPF) in Years 1-10.

Targets and action plans to accelerate at risk learners

The school has developed effective targets and action plans to accelerate the progress of at-risk students in Years 1 to 6. Almost all students coming in as new entrants are below expected levels in oral language, letter and number recognition. Appropriate interventions and initiatives such as an oral language programme and the play-based approach to learning have been implemented to accelerate the progress of these students. These programmes and approaches have had a significant impact on accelerating the learning and ensuring more equitable outcomes for almost all identified at-risk students. Data on accelerated progress and achievement over time shows that by the end of Year 6, 84% of students were at the expected curriculum level in reading and 75% in writing and mathematics. Work is being done to continue these positive trajectories from Years 7 to 10.

Curriculum review and delivery

Leaders have developed a more responsive curriculum informed by internal evaluation. The curriculum review has been strategic, systematic and well considered. There has been a deliberate focus on establishing community networks that broaden students’ experiences and enhance learning outcomes. These include educational partnerships with trades and tertiary providers, local community and national organisations. Students benefit from a curriculum that is more coherent and meaningful, and which provides responsive, individualised learning pathways within and beyond school.

Teaching and learning

The quality of teaching and learning has significantly improved. Leaders have developed high expectations for teaching and learning across the school. Teachers promote respectful relationships with and between students. Staff know students well and are responsive, sensitive and respectful of the individual students’ strengths and challenges. ERO observed some examples of effective practice including:

  • the use of data to inform planning and a focus on at-risk students through differentiated learning tasks to suit individual needs
  • formative assessment strategies such as sharing learning intentions, success criteria, verbal and documented feedback and feed forward
  • use of the learning progressions to develop student agency and accelerate learning.

Building the collective capacity of teachers in implementing these effective strategies across the school is an ongoing priority.


The board has made very positive progress in addressing operational and governance issues facing the school. Trustees have a positive working relationship with the principal, leadership team, staff and community. They have a clear focus on improving the retention of students to the senior school, and providing meaningful pathways for all students.

Trustees value student voice and regularly consult with students and the wider community. The board of trustees is strategically resourcing several initiatives to provide more equitable opportunities and positive outcomes for students.

Improved governance practices are supporting the school to realise its vision and values for raising levels of student achievement. Trustees are open to learning, have a clear understanding of their role as governors, and are benefiting from support and guidance provided by the LSM. The LSM will continue in his involvement with the school until the end of 2018 to support recently elected trustees.

Internal evaluation

The school has developed a useful framework and robust process for effective internal evaluation focused on improving student achievement. The senior leadership team usesdata well to inform self review and evaluate the effectiveness of the curriculum, support programmes and interventions.

Appraisals and performance management

Leaders have a strategic and coherent approach to appraisal, performance management and providing professional development to build professional capability and collective capacity. Effective self review is helping to ensure that the school is responsive to the interests and needs of students.

Key next steps

Senior leaders, trustees now need to:

  • continue to explore opportunities for external moderation of assessments in the junior and senior school
  • provide ongoing professional learning and development to build coherent assessment practice across the school, especially in Years 9 and 10
  • continue to provide professional learning and development to build teacher capability in their understanding of acceleration, and the effective use of data to inform planning and implement strategies to accelerate the progress and achievement of at risk learners
  • align charter targets with at-risk learners and regularly track, monitor and report on their progress throughout the year
  • strengthen and embed the effective teaching practices evident across the school and teacher confidence and capability in the use of restorative practices
  • ensure the meaningful integration of local contexts, Māori history, te reo and tikanga Māori across the curriculum, and consult with Ngāti Manawa to ascertain the aspirations they have for their tamariki.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

Murupara Area School is now better placed to sustain and continue its performance. Factors contributing to sustainability are that:

  • the school  has a capable board which is working well with the LSM in managing school finances and personnel
  • the principal and deputy principals have gained experience in their roles and are providing strong leadership across the school
  • effective systems are in place to monitor student progress, acceleration and achievement
  • there is now greater collegiality and cooperation amongst staff
  • students are settled and have access to good quality educational opportunities.

Key next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, development priorities are in:

  • targeted planning to accelerate learning
    [ERO will monitor and discuss progress with the school]
  • internal evaluation processes and practices.
    [ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders]

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.


Murupara Area School has made significant progress in all areas identified for review and development. The leadership team is working cohesively with staff, trustees, whānau, iwi and the community to provide better educational outcomes for students. Students are working in a calm, settled environment conducive to learning.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

28 May 2018

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Composite (Years 1 to 13)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 60% Girls 40%

Ethnic composition



Review team on site

April 2018

Date of this report

28 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Special Review

February 2016
October 2014