Rahotu School - 23/06/2016

1 Context

Rahotu School is a rural school on Surf Highway south of New Plymouth for students in Years 1 to 8. A new principal was appointed in 2014. As a result of recent, substantial roll growth additional teachers have been appointed. At the time of this review, the school had a roll of 142 students and 55 identify as Māori.

Leaders are focused on providing a curriculum where the place of mountain, coast and cultural history are honoured and which seeks to “retain the history of the past while preparing for the future.”

Property developments include recent and ongoing refurbishment of classrooms and the wider school environment.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision as defined by the school is “Keeping the flames of learning alive”. This is promoted through the Flame values of: Family, whānau and community, Learning, Aroha, Manaaki and Excellence.

The school’s achievement information shows that, at the end of 2015, many students' achievement needs acceleration in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The achievement of Māori students is similar to their peers in the school.

The school has identified students in need of support and put actions in place to address these needs. A first step in this process was to ensure attendance levels were raised. An additional class provided support to the area of greatest need during 2015. Trustees continue to set and resource priorities to improve student achievement.

Teachers have undertaken professional development in writing and mathematics. This has established school-wide consistency in planning and been used to develop teachers’ understanding and use of data to identify students’ needs.

Since the May 2013 ERO evaluation, the school has improved reporting to trustees and parents. Work has been done to reignite the school’s Flame philosophy and to deliver a local curriculum that is place-based and responsive to Māori culture and language.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

Māori students whose achievement requires acceleration are well identified and monitored at class and school-wide levels. Teachers plan collaboratively and regularly discuss student progress and strategies to promote further improvement.

Leaders have successfully strengthened culturally responsive practices. These include:

  • a focus on te reo Māori
  • inclusion of te ao Māori throughout the curriculum
  • consultation with, and inclusion of, local iwi in curriculum decisions and delivery
  • development of a whānau group and Māori action plan
  • encompassing local Māori knowledge and history.

As a consequence, te reo me nga tikanga Māori are highly evident and valued across the school.

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

In response to student achievement information, staff have taken action that has led to improvements in students' attendance and behaviour. Staff have built relationships and grown partnerships for learning with whānau, iwi and the wider community.

All students whose achievement requires acceleration are well identified and monitored at both the classroom and school-wide levels. Teachers plan collaboratively and regularly discuss student progress and strategies to promote further growth.

A team of teachers and additional staff work well with families, whānau and external agencies to ensure that all student needs are thoroughly identified and addressed. There is a continuous and shared focus on supporting students to be ready for learning.

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 priorities for equity and excellence?

Equity and excellence for all students are promoted through Rahotu School’s curriculum. Organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values and goals. New initiatives to raise student achievement should further support this promotion of equity.

Students enjoy a sense of belonging and connection to the school and community. A positive learning environment with reciprocal, respectful relationships are evident throughout the school. The inclusive school culture is focused on student wellbeing and learning relationships.

The curriculum provides students with opportunities to work collaboratively and solve problems in a range of real world contexts. Students' learning is enabling and future focused. Māori culture and language are fostered and valued.

Teaching practices engage students in thinking and learning. Teachers reflect on their practice and undertake a range of appropriate professional learning. Both teachers and leaders engage with, and contribute to, the wider educational network.

School operation supports and sustains teachers' professional growth. School goals are appropriately set and these inform teachers’ goals and link to school targets. Leaders and teachers engage with and learn through internal evaluation.

The principal provides strong leadership and identifies and responds to priorities appropriately. Carefully aligned systems and practices are in place to support the high expectations for teaching, achievement and behaviour.

Trustees provide strong and considered governance. They have developed trust and culturally responsive relationships with the school community. They have successfully enabled family and whānau to actively participate in the life of the school. All are welcomed and involved in school activities as respected and valued partners in learning.

Pastoral care for students, teachers and families is an ongoing focus for this school. The school and community work together to support students and families. Leaders emphasise the collective responsibility of the school community to create the conditions in which all students experience success. This supports effective student transitions at crucial points in their educational pathways.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how teaching is working for these children
  • need to more systematically act on what they know works for each child
  • need to have a plan in place to build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children.

School leaders have identified that their next steps are to:

  • continue to strengthen school targets and actions to focus on acceleration and raise student achievement
  • further develop teachers' ability to inquire into the effectiveness of their teaching practices
  • continue to embed and sustain agreed teacher practices and the use of student achievement information to support and accelerate progress
  • continue to implement new initiatives identified in the whānau Māori action plan.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should use the findings of this evaluation, the Effective School Evaluation resource, the Internal Evaluation: Good Practice exemplars and the School Evaluation Indicators to develop a Raising Achievement Plan to further develop processes and practices that respond effectively to the strengths and needs of children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s Raising Achievement Plan and the progress the school makes.

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

7 Recommendations

ERO recommends that the school continues to strengthen school targets, teaching practices and actions to accelerate and continue to raise student achievement. The impact of new initiatives should be regularly evaluated. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

23 June 2016

About the school


Rahotu, Taranaki

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Year 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

50% Female, 50% Male

Ethnic composition



Other ethnic groups




Review team on site

April 2016

Date of this report

23 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2013

March 2010

June 2006