Pirinoa School - 19/08/2016

1 Context

Pirinoa is a Year 1 to 8 rural primary school. Most students come from the rural community. Since ERO reviewed the school in September 2013, there have been changes in the principal, teaching staff and board membership. The school roll has increased considerably to 42 students, with 21 Māori students. There is a positive relationship with Pirinoa Playgroup, which shares the same grounds.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are for vibrant and successful learning based on the school's 'pathway' curriculum. The outcomes of this pathway for students are that they will be: proud, actively engaged with a positive attitude, respectful, resilient, honest and have fun at school.

The mission for high achieving learners is evident in practice. The school’s achievement information shows that in 2015 most students achieved at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. This was an improvement on the 2014 data. Māori students' progress has improved since 2013 overall, with a small group receiving targeted support. Girls generally achieved better than boys.

The school data shows many target students accelerated their progress during 2015. The teachers recognised that compared to their reading achievement, not enough girls are achieving above the National Standard in writing. This is a subject of an internal evaluation and a schoolwide focus on improving students' skills.

Assessment processes are becoming more robust. Teachers use a range of tools including observation and standardised tests to inform their overall judgements about students learning. There is a focus on extending moderation practices to ensure achievement information is consistent and reliable.

Parents are well informed about their child's learning through student profile books that show samples of their child's work and assessment information. Reporting to parents also includes providing next learning steps and suggested strategies to further support students' to accelerate their progress.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

Most Māori students are achieving at and above the National Standards at the end of 2015. Individualised support is provided to learners who are not yet at the standard. The board set annual targets to accelerate Māori students' achievement in writing and mathematics in 2015. This led to over half making accelerated progress. Records show they have made considerable gains both socially and academically. Continuing to evaluate the effectiveness of provisions for Māori students is a next step.

The school has introduced a range of strategies to support Māori student success as Māori. Some of these are new and the impact is yet to be determined. A key development is to continue to engage whānau. A closer relationship is developing with the local marae, where the community has participated in a noho marae.

The school has good systems to identify students at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes. The few identified have individual learning plans and are closely supported by teacher aides, specialist volunteer tutors and external agencies. The board has also resourced the physical environment to help meet their needs. Evidence from teacher monitoring shows each student is making appropriate progress against their learning plan goals.

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 board is improvement focused and sets high standards for student achievement, values and key competencies. Trustees are well informed of school activities and progress towards meeting the strategic goals.

Processes for policy and procedure review require strengthening. This includes fully responding to the Vulnerable Children Act, aligned policies and new police vetting requirements. Consultation about the health curriculum is overdue and some teachers' first aide certificates require renewal.

Trustees have taken steps to promote greater whānau involvement to ensure active participation. The board's aim is to further embed strong educationally reciprocal partnerships. The next step is for it to make closer strategic links with the Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Education Strategy.

Since the 2013 ERO evaluation there has been ongoing collaborative review, development and embedding of the Pirinoa School curriculum, including meeting community expectations to become even more inclusive and culturally responsive. With the increasingly closer links to the local iwi, it is time to make stronger curriculum links with the Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Education Strategy.

Success for Māori as Māori is a strong focus. Academic success is evident for almost all students. The school's Māori success plan, developed in 2014, should be updated to reflect the aspirations of current whānau. A next step is to consider ways the physical environment can better reflect the cultural identity of Māori students who make up half of the school roll.

The school leader is reflective and the board regularly surveys the community to confirm its direction and strategies. However, the process could be strengthened by making it more evaluative. A next step is to review internal evaluation processes and document an approach that can be understood and consistently used by board and staff.

The recently introduced principal and teachers' appraisal for 2016 is more robust. This process should better enable teachers to meet the Education Council expectations for the issue and renewal of practising certificates. The next step is to document a principal and teacher appraisal policy and procedures and implement a process that meets current requirements. Better use of the information about the impact of teaching strategies on learners' achievement, through teaching as inquiry practices, should further assist with building teacher effectiveness.

Teachers receive appropriate professional development and demonstrate good practice. They are well organised and have a strong focus on each child making accelerated progress. Classrooms are vibrant and there are positive relationships between teachers and students and among students.

Students are active learners who are engaged and enact the school values. They are respectful and familiar with established routines. Their positive attitude is supported and reinforced through the school's high level of participation in the positive behaviour for learning programme. Teachers and students interact well and a positive tone is evident in the classrooms and the playground.

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
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Trustees and teachers should continue to focus on sustaining students' achievement and accelerating the progress of those students who need support to achieve well. This includes building teacher appraisal and evaluation practices that contribute to increased equity and excellence in student outcomes.

ERO is likely to carry out the next 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.

The board has not consulted with its school community about the delivery of the health curriculum and undertaken timely police vetting of new staff.

In order to address this, the board must ensure that:

  1. at least once every two years and after consultation with the school community, it adopts a statement on the delivery of the health curriculum
    [Section 60B Education Act 1989]
  2. the school must not employ or engage a person as a children’s worker without ensuring that a safety check of the person is completed before the employment or engagement commences.
    [Section 3, (25) Vulnerable Children Act 2014]

7 Recommendations

The board, principal and teachers should:

  • review personnel policies and procedures to keep up with legislative changes
  • continue to make closer strategic links with the Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Education Strategy
  • update the procedures for internal evaluation to be consistent with current practice
  • continue to strengthen learning partnerships with whānau. 

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

19 August 2016

About the school 


South Wairarapa

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 28, Male 14

Ethnic composition



Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

19 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

September 2013
December 2011
June 2007