Patoka School - 18/11/2019

School Context

Patoka School, a small rural school inland from Napier, has students from Years 1 to 8. The current roll of 55, includes 10 students who are Māori and six of Pacific heritage.

The school’s vision for learning is ‘Through our school we are one.’ This is enacted through the values of ‘trustworthiness, respect, unity, enthusiasm and excellence: T.R.U.E.E’.

The current goals are focused on strengthening communication between school and community and teaching and learning. The achievement target is focused on mathematics for students in Years 1 to 4.

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

  • reading, writing and mathematics.

Since the December 2014 ERO report, there have been significant staffing changes. A new principal was appointed at the beginning of 2019, along with a new teaching team. Teachers’ professional learning and development for 2019 is focused on mathematics.

The majority of trustees are new to the board. A co-opted board chairperson provides direction for stewardship of the school. This has been in place for two years.

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?

The school is strengthening its effectiveness in achieving equitable and excellence outcomes for all its students. These outcomes are often good with some variation.

The end-of-year 2018 achievement information showed that most students achieved at and above curriculum expectations in reading and mathematics, with a large majority in writing. Information about the achievement of specific groups of students overtime has not been collated.

The mid-2019 achievement data is showing a clearer picture of achievement across the school in reading and writing. Most students are at and above expectations in reading, with the majority of students at or above in writing. Schoolwide data for all year groups is not available for mathematics. The board has received whole school basic facts data, March 2019.

Māori students are achieving as well as their peers in reading, less so in writing. Pacific students are achieving better than their peers over all. Girls are achieving better than boys in writing.

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

In 2019, the school has improved its response to those students whose learning requires acceleration. Mid-year achievement data shows that teachers have been successful in accelerating the learning of most target students, including those Māori and Pacific children who need this, in reading, writing and mathematics.

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 board and staff clearly identify where improvement is needed to promote excellence and equity in learner outcomes. Goals are prioritised in the annual plan through a range of actions and provide clear direction for school leadership. Progress is monitored and regularly reported to the board.

Leaders and teachers have strengthened processes and practices to respond to those students whose progress they need to accelerate. These practices are robust and enable close tracking and monitoring of these students. Trustees are regularly informed of their progress and achievement and use this information to make appropriate resourcing decisions.

Students experience a wide range of authentic learning opportunities responsive to their strengths and interests. Science learning is well integrated and reflected through an inquiry approach. There is an appropriate focus on literacy and mathematics, including a balance of targeted teaching, use of rich authentic tasks and student-led learning. Students participate in a wide range of academic, sporting and cultural activities within the school and wider community. They take on leadership roles and socialise with students from other schools.

Students are well engaged in purposeful learning and take pride in their achievements. They show a sense of belonging to their school. Learners work collaboratively. They use digital technologies to support and manage their learning. The learning environments reflect and celebrate students’ learning. Their culture, language and identity is acknowledged and valued.

Teachers are student-centred and highly collaborative in their approach. They value the knowledge and skills each bring and learn from each other, and with support from external facilitators, build their capability. They are reflective and regularly inquire into the effectiveness of their teaching strategies, programmes and interventions to promote positive outcomes for students.

A range of communication strategies is used to keep parents and whānau informed about the curriculum and school operation. Parents participate in a wide range of school activities. Their contribution to decision making is valued. Strengthening partnerships in learning continues to be a priority for the school with its families.

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

Some initial community consultation informed the development of the draft, documented curriculum that provides teaching and learning guidance to the new teaching team. Leaders and teachers acknowledge that further work is required to ensure the curriculum is reflective of the local context and responsive to the community’s aspirations for its students. The planned review of the school’s vision and values should support this development.

The school needs to develop a more planned approach to the integration of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori across the curriculum, to ensure continuation of this initiative. Responsive resourcing by the board has contributed to a positive start to this.

Systems to keep records of student achievement over time need to be firmly in place so that the school gets a clear picture of its effectiveness in progressing children’s learning and the improvement trajectory of groups of students.

A key next step is developing a shared understanding of internal evaluation and the use of data and other information to know the impact of new developments, programmes and initiatives to advance equity and excellence for students.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Patoka School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • systems and processes that are focused on accelerating the learning of those students who need this

  • strategic planning that prioritises actions for improvement

  • a curriculum that responds to children’s strengths and interests.

Next steps

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

  • ensuring student achievement data over time is kept so that school effectiveness in working towards equitable and excellent outcomes for all students is known
  • internal evaluation to know the impact of ongoing improvements, what is working and what is not
  • working towards independence in stewardship with a trustee-led board.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

18 November 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full primary (Years 1-8)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 33, Male 22

Ethnic composition

Māori 10
NZ European/Pākehā 39
Pacific 6

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

September 2019

Date of this report

18 November 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review December 2014
Education Review September 2010
Education Review June 2007