Ngutunui School - 07/03/2017

1 Context

Ngutunui School is a small rural school located south of Pirongia village and in close proximity to Te Awamutu and Otorohanga. It is on attractively presented, spacious and well-maintained grounds, including its own established orchard, developed as an Enviro-School. The school provides education for children in Years 1 to 8. Two multi-age classrooms operate, one for the juniors and one for the senior students. The school had 53 children on its roll.

At the time of this ERO review, the newly appointed principal had been in the position for one term, along with the appointment of an experienced teacher, who started her position two weeks prior to ERO's arrival. The long serving teacher has had two years at the school. Over half the board have remained the same with the remainder elected this year. The board chair is new to the role, and brings with her knowledge and experience as a long-serving trustee on the board.

The school has a rich history, celebrating over one hundred years in the community. It continues to have close ties with its community, which mostly consists of farming families, many of whom have had past family members attend the school. Children participate in the traditional agricultural day, which is well attended and supported by the local community.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to provide an education where children strive to achieve. School values promote the importance of children learning in a culture of respect, in a quality environment that promotes equitable learning opportunities and embraces diversity.

The school’s achievement information shows that from 2013 to 2016 half of students in Years 4 to 8 are achieving at or above expectations for National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Of concern are the low levels of achievement of Māori children. For the past three years there has been minimal improvement to levels of achievement for this group. Other groups of learners have a greater number of children progressing and achieving at National Standards. The level of disparity between Māori and other groups of learners is increasing.

The new principal and teachers are beginning to develop a collaborative approach to assessment. This is assisting them to make more consistent and reliable overall teacher judgements (OTJ's) in relation to National Standards. The school works with a cluster of schools in the district to further strengthen moderation processes.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has:

  • re-developed the school web-site
  • strengthened the focus on te ao Māori perspectives in the curriculum
  • introduced accelerating learning in mathematics (ALiM).

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school has not effectively responded to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Under the current leadership the identification and response to Māori children's learning and achievement has improved. Information gathered in September 2016 has been analysed and shows that a high majority of Māori children, particularly boys need their learning accelerated. The school has placed urgency on responding to this identified group of children.

Intentional teaching strategies and specialised programmes are in the process of being implemented. The appropriateness of current school achievement targets are being evaluated. Recently identified achievement data is assisting the development of specific targeted action to promote equitable learning opportunities for children below the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The school's internal evaluation processes are now appropriately identifying school priorities, key areas for development and improvement, including professional development to build teacher capability.

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

The school is responding to the learning needs of other children at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes particularly in reading and writing. They benefit from leaders and teachers who are identifying their individual learning needs, and are using this information to more effectively plan and accelerate children's learning and progress.

Internal evaluation practices are developing and resulting in considerable improvements in the school's systems and practices for identifying those children whose learning needs acceleration. Targeted programmes and planned intentional teaching are being developed to raise overall levels of children's achievement. Information from Term 3, 2016 is used by the school to target and plan responsive actions designed to raise achievement and progress of those children below the national expectations in literacy and mathematics. In 2017 the school will be in a better position to evaluate and report on the effectiveness of initiatives introduced in 2016.

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?

The school's curriculum and other organisational processes and practices are now being effectively developed to enact the school's vision and values. Priority is placed on providing greater equitable outcomes for all children. The principal and board are in the process of consulting with its community to re-define the school curriculum values to establish a shared understanding and agreed aspirations for what the Ngutunui learner will look like.

The principal has prioritised building relationships with the school community and local iwi. This approach is promoting open communication and consultation, and supporting the school to respond to the aspirations and needs of the school community.

A strong sense of belonging is fostered. Children experience caring, respectful and positive relationships. These relationships support them to engage confidently in learning. Children have enjoyed the extra-curricular activities introduced by the new school personnel. Participating in noho Marae and the re-establishment of whole school kapa haka has lifted the profile of Māori language and culture.

School leadership and trustees have begun to evaluate the impact of interventions designed to bring about positive changes to children's learning and achievement. The school is now in a better position to monitor, evaluate, and report on the effectiveness of planned initiatives for accelerating the progress of children at risk of poor educational outcomes.

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
  • need approaches that effectively meet the needs of each child
  • need to ensure the school is well placed to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it.

Current strengths are:

  • the principal and staff beginning to develop effective practices for identifying and responding to children's learning needs
  • introducing and refining systems to enable the principal, trustees and teachers to regularly monitor, evaluate, and report on the effectiveness targeted programmes
  • that children and families have a strong sense of belonging and connection to the school.

The school recognises the need to:

  • set specific charter targets that respond to cohorts of children who need acceleration
  • regularly report the progress of these target children to trustees
  • ensure consistency in the analysis of assessment information to inform targeted teaching and learning across the school.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should participate in an internal evaluation workshop. They should use this workshop, the Internal Evaluation: Good Practice exemplars and the School Evaluation Indicators to address the findings of this evaluation and develop more targeted planning that includes a significant focus on building teacher capability to accelerate learning and achievement.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s planning and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full 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 Recommendations

ERO recommends that the principal continues to work with trustees, teachers and the school community to address the next steps identified in this report:

  • Develop clear expectations for moderation and assessment, planning and evaluation.
  • Monitor and reporting on the overall progress of those children whose learning needs accelerating.
  • Build teacher capability to use assessment information to inform practice, and plan strategies to respond to those children whose learning needs acceleration, particularly in writing.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

7 March 2017

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 31

Boys 22

Ethnic composition




Fijian Indian





Review team on site

October 2016

Date of this report

7 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

March 2012

June 2009

August 2006