Pahiatua School - 13/12/2017

School Context

Pahiatua School, in the Tararua district, caters for 392 students in Year 1 to 8, and 22% are Māori with a small number of Pacific heritage. The school has experienced considerable roll growth since 2014. Annually, there is a high turnover in the roll.

As part of the school’s vision for student success, it seeks to provide children with a foundation for lifelong learning, and the opportunity to experience success and strive towards personal excellence. School goals for 2017 are for 80% of students in all groups to be achieving well in mathematics and reading, with accelerated progress for those students not currently achieving well.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics, and in relation to the school goals
  • valued outcomes in relation to health and physical education in TheNew Zealand Curriculum.

The school is part of, and the principal is leading, the Tararua Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako (CoL).

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is continuing to improve student achievement, and has an ongoing priority of addressing in-school disparity in the achievement of boys, when compared to girls, especially in reading and writing.

Reported achievement at the end of 2016 showed that overall between approximately two thirds and three quarters of students achieved well in reading, writing and mathematics. Overall, higher levels of achievement are still needed. For Māori students, the school achieves outcomes that are equitable with those of their non-Māori peers within the school, and their achievement shows improvement over time.

Achievement in writing has shown improvement since 2014. Reported midyear 2017 data indicates achievement is likely to improve slightly for Māori students and boys in mathematics and reading by the end of the year.

For the small number of Pacific students, their achievement is appropriately tracked, monitored and reported to the board.

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school response to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration includes appropriate processes.

Available information indicates that some students make accelerated progress, including as part of a group supported in their mathematics learning. Otherwise, the extent to which students’ progress is being accelerated is not clearly identified schoolwide.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

Conditions for learning promote the positive engagement of students. The curriculum supports foundational learning and fosters skills and attributes to promote self-directed learning. Students are encouraged to monitor and contribute to their own progress and achievement.Digital learning options promote engagement and extend the scope of learning. Student interactions are positive. Shared values are encouraged to promote highly inclusive relationships.

Leaders focus clearly on guiding practice that places children at the centre of decision making. They have developed a cohesive and collaborative approach to meeting the needs of learners. This includes fostering a shared understanding of expectations for classroom practice, and processes for leaders to know about the quality of teaching. Involvement of staff in professional learning and development (PLD) has impacted positively. For assessment of students’ achievement, guidelines and moderation practice ensure that teachers make dependable assessment judgements.

Teachers are highly collaborative. They regularly discuss student achievement, progress and share teaching and learning strategies to support their response to those Māori and other learners whose learning and achievement need acceleration. These students set learning goals closely matched to their next learning steps. Parents and whānau receive regular information and in some instances they are provided with resources to contribute to their child’s learning at home.

Appropriate processes support prompt identification of individual children requiring additional learning support. Individual education plans, developed for students with high needs, document specific learning needs, goals, interventions and programmes.

Well-considered educational partnerships, including in the Tararua CoL, provide opportunities to share practice to support students’ success and transition, in the school and across the district. A CoL decision to use the Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT) should further enhance moderation practice. The board is committed to providing positive outcomes for students and plans strategically to meet the needs of students and the community.

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

Strengthening internal evaluation and inquiry processes, culturally responsive practice and teacher appraisal should further promote equity and higher overall levels of achievement for students.

The teaching as inquiry process encourages consideration of strategies to address the needs of students. Strengthening teacher’s evaluative capability, individually and as syndicates, should help them to:

  • consistently identify the impact of practice on accelerating students’ achievement, so that the extent to which progress is accelerated within and across learning areas is well known

  • establish clear understandings of how well strategies for students requiring acceleration support or limit their learning success

  • produce additional evaluation information of value to future decision making for improvement.

The school continues to develop a comprehensive response to Māori learners’ culture, language and identity. Students have some opportunities to learn though culturally appropriate experiences. Further development of actions, and inclusion of outcome indicators, in the Māori achievement plan should extend opportunity to identify successes and enhance culturally responsive practice.

The school’s appraisal process meets the requirements for issuing and renewing teacher practicing certificates. Effective models of practice should be used to develop consistency between teachers.

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.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a collaborative school culture that includes teachers, parents and whānau supporting positive student engagement, learning, participation and inclusiveness

  • professional leadership of teaching practice that focuses on meeting the needs of learners, aligned to governance that promotes achievement of equity and excellence.

Next steps

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

  • continuing to address existing disparities to ensure further improvement in boys achievement, especially in reading and writing

  • strengthening learner focused inquiry and evaluation, and culturally responsive practice to consolidate movement towards higher overall levels of achievement.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

13 December 2017

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 53%, Male 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori 22%
Pākehā 74%
Pacific 2%
Other ethnic groups 2%

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

October 2017

Date of this report

13 December 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review July 2014
Education Review October 2010
Education Review September 2007