Ngatapa School - 26/09/2018

School Context

Ngatapa School is a small rural school in the Gisborne region. It caters for students in Years 1 to 8. Half of the 18 students currently enrolled identify as Māori.

The school states that its vision for students is to develop their learning for life. The values of engagement, wellbeing, independence, enterprise and sustainability have been identified to underpin teaching and learning.

Current goals for improving students learning outcomes are in literacy schoolwide and reading in Years 1 to 3.

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

  • achievement in relation to annual targets literacy and mathematics

  • learning and achievement linked to strategic goals.

Since the August 2015 ERO report, there have been significant changes in governance and leadership. A new principal was employed in 2016. Most trustees have been elected or co-opted to the board since that time. The two experienced, long-term trustees have recently resigned from the board. A new board chair was elected just prior to this ERO review.

Recent professional learning and development for teachers has been undertaken in reading recovery to support the school’s literacy targets.

The school is a hub for local families with the community hall and playgroup sharing the site and sporting facilities. Major refurbishment of the buildings and facilities has been undertaken in the past three years.

Ngatapa School is a member of the Taha Tinana (Gisborne) Kāhui Ako.

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?

At the end of 2017, the school reported that a small majority of students achieved at and above school expectations in reading, with most achieving at and above the expectations in writing and mathematics. Good levels of overall student achievement is a pattern for the school that has been sustained over time.

At the end 2017, there was disparity in achievement for boys and Pākehā students in reading and writing. The school is addressing this disparity by introducing appropriate interventions

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

School data shows that, over time, some students achieving below school expectation in reading, writing and mathematics have made accelerated progress to meet expectations.

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 school is well resourced for learning. Classrooms are carefully organised and comfortable learning spaces. In response to the wishes of the community, the board funds an additional fulltime teacher to enable better differentiation of instruction and a more flexible approach to organisation of teaching and learning. Relationships between teachers and children are positive, respectful and relaxed. Students collaborate well to support each other in their work. They are engaged, happy learners who enjoy being at school.

Children benefit from being part of a close-knit, friendly and inclusive learning community. High levels of community involvement in the school support the building of productive relationships between students, whānau, trustees and teachers. Families are kept well informed about their children’s everyday participation, and progress and achievement over time in relation to school expectations.

An appropriate range of assessment tools is used to gather information about students’ learning. Their progress and achievement is well tracked and monitored over time.

Children with additional learning needs are identified and appropriately supported within the classroom, and externally as necessary. There is good evidence of improved learning behaviours over time for this group. High teacher-to-student ratios afford good opportunities for one-to-one interaction and support.

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

Clarification of roles and responsibilities for school operation should be a priority. With a new board and leadership in place, support should be sought to enable: stewardship capacity to be sustained and strengthened over time; and trustees and the principal to work cohesively in overseeing and managing the operation of the school.

The board should ensure that an appropriate set of up-to-date policy guidelines is in place and formally adopted to support consistent understanding and implementation of school and legislative requirements.

There is a need to strengthen planning for improvement. Good alignment between long-term planning and reporting, teacher development and planned review to measure progress is not yet evident. Annual goals that specifically target students at risk of not reaching school expectations, and reduce disparity between groups of students, should be more clearly articulated.

A wider range of information about student outcomes, including the accelerated progress of target students, needs to be identified and more regularly reported to the board to support decision making about resourcing and next development steps. Some useful review and reflection is undertaken at leadership level, however, understanding and use of internal evaluation is not yet evident.

The principal is aware of the need to review and redevelop the curriculum and written guidelines to better reflect the requirements of TheNew Zealand Curriculum, and the school’s vision of learning for life through 21st century teaching practice. These processes should consider: a stronger focus on local history and environment; student voice, agency and interests; whānau consultation and collaboration; and culturally responsive practice in line with the school’s policy for Māori achievement and the intent of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

The appraisal process supporting teachers’ development requires review and improvement. The inclusion of inquiry goals linked to target students’ achievement, formal observations of practice, and focused constructive feedback should add rigour to the approach. Priority should be given to ensuring the process meets the requirements of the Education Council’s Standards for the Teaching Profession.

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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to teacher appraisal, and health and safety.

In order to address this, the board of trustees must ensure:

  • all teachers are appropriately appraised in their roles every year

  • the pool fence meets regulatory requirements. Until that time it must be effectively managed as a hazard

  • the community is consulted about the health curriculum every two years. [Section 77A State Sector Act; National Administration Guidelines 5; Section 60B Education Act 1989]

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should ensure management of health and safety is effectively organised, including the:

  • reporting of collated data about accidents, incidents and hazards at board meetings

  • effective implementation of the new health and safety risk assessment and management process

  • implementation of appropriate procedures for administration and storage of students’ medication

  • provision of emergency supplies and organisation of pandemic planning

  • development of written guidelines for managing severe behaviour and bullying

  • management of complaints

  • police vetting of camp helpers as documented in the school’s procedures

  • placement of the school’s guidelines about identity checking of prospective employees in the appointments policy/procedures.

Appraisal audit

To improve practice for the issue and renewal of teacher practising certificates, there must be sufficient evidence through the appraisal process to show that all Education Council requirements for the teaching profession are met.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • promoting community relationships that support the school

  • developing an environment for students’ learning that promotes their collaboration and wellbeing.

Next steps

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

  • stewardship, to build understanding of accountability and improvement in relation to school operation

  • leadership, for managing operation and the ongoing review and improvement of the curriculum to meet requirements and better respond to the local context

  • internal evaluation, to better identify what is working well for students’ learning and where improvements are needed.

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education and New Zealand School Trustees Association consider providing support for the school in order to bring about improvement in:

  • stewardship

  • leadership for curriculum development

  • alignment of systems to support school development planning

  • compliance.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing external evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two years.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review & Improvement Services

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

26 September 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full primary

School roll


Gender composition

Male 12, Female 6

Ethnic composition

Māori 9
Pākehā 9

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

August 2018

Date of this report

26 September 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review August 2015
Education Review August 2011
Education Review May 2008