Papatawa School - 26/05/2015


The school has made significant progress since the August 2013 ERO report. Appraisal and professional learning support effective teaching. Trustees are continuing to build self review capability. The board and principal have plans and targets to manage ongoing improvement for positive student outcomes. The school is well placed to sustain its performance.

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?

Papatawa School is located in rural Woodville and caters for students in Years 1 to 8. It has a roll of 40, a significant increase since Term 2, 2013. Students come from the local community and wider geographical areas.

The August 2013 ERO report identified significant areas for review and development. These included aspects of self review, governance and the implementation of performance management processes. Before ERO’s review in 2013, the newly appointed principal had completed a comprehensive review of school systems, governance, student learning and achievement. She found significant gaps. In consultation with trustees, staff and the community she had started to identify strategies to address these areas.

Following the August 2013 report, ERO, the board and principal developed an action plan. This guided progress and review over the next two years. A Ministry of Education senior advisor also worked with the school during this time.

Evaluation of progress made since 2013 and how well the school is placed to sustain and continue improvement is stated in this report.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The principal and trustees, in collaboration with ERO, agreed that priorities were to:

  • implement teacher professional development and performance management to support consistency of effective teaching practices
  • establish a school wide understanding and framework for using self review to evaluate the impact of curriculum and teaching on outcomes for students
  • improve strategic and annual planning, and target setting
  • continue to undertake training to assist the board’s understanding of their governance roles and responsibilities
  • review and evaluate policies and monitor their implementation.


The school has made significant progress in improving the areas for further development identified in the 2013 ERO report. This is evident in school documentation, systems and in teaching practices designed to accelerate students’ progress.

A new appraisal system introduced in 2014 is an appropriate process to guide teaching. The process has been developed collaboratively with staff. Teachers set personal goals that are linked to student achievement targets. Students whose achievement needs to be accelerated are part of teachers’ appraisal goals. Feedback to teachers is very useful, with next steps for improvement identified. Teachers are effectively using student assessment information to consider how well teaching practices are improving students’ learning and progress.

The principal is appraised as part of the First Time Principal professional learning. She sets specific goals linked to student achievement and charter priorities. The principal is receiving effective mentoring support to develop as a leader.

Teachers have participated in a significant amount of professional development since 2013. The key areas have been te reo Māori, reading and writing. Teachers use this learning to discuss and reflect on the effectiveness of learning programmes to ensure they are responsive to students’ needs. The building of a new teaching team culture and working with other schools have been central to this learning. 

Teachers support students to be self-managing learners. They know students well and establish learning relationships that build students’ confidence. Programmes incorporate real life experiences and links to students’ prior learning.

Data reported in 2014 shows that most students achieved at or above in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Parents and whānau receive clear, informative reports on their child’s progress in relation to the National Standards.

Since arriving in 2013, the principal has worked collaboratively with the board and staff to identify key systems and processes that needed to be established in the school. A significant number of new procedures and initiatives have been introduced since then. This has resulted in cohesive and
well-considered decisions to promote student engagement, progress and achievement.

The school’s charter clearly identifies priorities for school improvement. It has been developed in a collaborative way with the board, staff and community. Student achievement targets are specific to groups of students whose progress needs to be accelerated. Good background information and actions for each target are documented. Expected outcomes for each goal enable trustees and the principal to evaluate progress and identify areas for improvement and change. The board has made useful progress in their understanding of self review and the place of the school’s strategic and annual plans in this process.

A clear framework to guide school reviews has been developed. This is currently used to review areas of the curriculum. The inclusion of evaluative questions and identification of desired student outcomes should strengthen the process.

Trustees have a planned and well documented cycle of policy review. Community feedback is sought and contributes to changes and improvements in school policies.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is well placed to continue to improve and review its performance.

The principal’s leadership is key to the changes and improvements that are happening in the school. She works collaboratively with staff and the board. The principal has effectively built relationships with other schools in the area through professional learning opportunities and leadership groups. These forums are providing opportunities to learn and share practices that should benefit students’ learning and achievement.

Trustees provide useful continuity of knowledge in their governance role. They are increasingly using a diverse range of information to review the impact of their decisions for improved outcomes for students. The board is highly supportive of the principal’s vision for the school and the work staff are doing to ensure success for all students.

Good lines of communication are evident between school and community. Parents and whānau are valued as important partners in their children’s learning.

Future priorities for development and review

The board agrees with ERO that ongoing building of their review capability will continue to be a focus as they work during the year with the school’s strategic and annual plans.

Trustees and the principal are committed to managing ongoing improvement and change in a systematic and strategic way. They should continue to be selective about new initiatives and consolidate what has been implemented over the last two years of significant change.

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.


The school has made significant progress since the August 2013 ERO report. Appraisal and professional learning support effective teaching. Trustees are continuing to build self review capability. The board and principal have plans and targets to manage ongoing improvement for positive student outcomes. The school is well placed to sustain its performance.

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

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

26 May 2015

About the School 



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 23, Male 17

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnic groups


Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

26 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Supplementary Review

August 2013
August 2010
September 2008