Riwaka School - 27/03/2018

School Context

Riwaka School has a roll of 215 students from Years 1-8. It is located in a rural area near Motueka.

The school’s vison for students is to develop a lifelong love of learning. Aims for student success include opportunities for students to reach their full potential and have confidence in their abilities. The school also aims for children to show caring and tolerance towards others and lead full lives.

The recently-introduced valued outcomes for students are to:

  • self-manage
  • actively respect
  • keep engaged
  • adjust to change.

The school’s strategic aims relate to building a teaching and learning culture, place learners at the centre of curriculum, and strengthen relationships with families, whānau and community by building learning partnerships.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing, mathematics and broader curriculum experiences
  • changes to curriculum content and delivery in relation to feedback from the community
  • aims and targets that focus on positive outcomes for children.

Since the 2014 ERO review, there have been a number of staff changes, including the appointment of a new principal and leadership team. The school has experienced significant roll growth and this has resulted in an increased number of teachers employed by the school. The current board is a mix of experienced and new trustees.

Leaders and teachers have participated in Ministry of Education supported professional learning and development initiatives, including Accelerated Learning in Mathematics (ALIM), Accelerating Learning in Literacy (ALL) and Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L).

Riwaka School is a member of the Motueka Kāhui Ako I Community of Learning (CoL).

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 effective in achieving positive outcomes for most children. Levels of achievement have remained consistently high over time.

Most students, including Māori students, achieve at or above expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. Overall, Māori students achieve at similar or higher levels than their peers in these areas.

Many boys achieve well in reading and mathematics. However, the school has identified that some boys need support with writing. Most girls achieve well in reading, writing and mathematics.

Students with additional learning needs are well supported to achieve their personal best through regular, careful planning and monitoring of their progress.

The school regularly celebrates a wide range of children’s successes to promote the school-wide focus on building confidence and fostering achievement.

Teachers use a range of appropriate assessment methods. Moderation within syndicates enables teachers to make consistent judgements about children’s learning, progress and achievement.

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

The school effectively identifies, monitors and responds to children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration.

Leaders and teachers identify and track all children who are performing below expectations. They closely monitor individual engagement, progress and achievement within year groups. Learning information is purposefully used to identify relevant interventions. The school effectively addresses pastoral care needs and other barriers to students’ learning success.

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?

Many school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence across the school. There is clear alignment of the school’s shared vision and valued outcomes for children that contributes to achieving the school’s aims and priorities.

Riwaka School promotes an inclusive, respectful and positive culture at all levels of the school. The board, leaders and teachers place students at the centre of learning, teaching and decision making. They take collective responsibility for children’s learning and wellbeing by creating and maintaining welcoming, supportive relationships with children, parents and whānau. Leaders and teachers are placing an increasing emphasis on tikanga Māori and the use of te reo across the school. This is contributing to fostering a strong sense of pride and belonging in the school.

Children are purposefully involved in a broad, rich curriculum that is strongly based in local contexts. Teachers make good use of community resources and expertise to deepen curriculum experiences and engage children in meaningful learning. They foster learning partnerships with children, parents and whānau by skilfully responding to individual children’s interests and abilities.

School leadership promotes open communication and collaborative professional practice. There is a deliberate approach to shared leadership across the school that builds a culture of continuous improvement. Teachers experience a range of targeted professional learning and development to support the achievement of school priorities.

The board, leaders and teachers use effective strategies to consult with children, parents and whānau. This information informs decision-making that promotes excellent and equitable outcomes for students.

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

Some areas of the school’s processes and practices need to be strengthened and embedded more fully to increase the achievement of equity and excellence across the school.

Leaders and teachers need to extend the analysis, evaluation and reporting of learner outcome information, particularly with respect to sufficiency and expectations for progress school-wide. They should include specific groups in reports to the board, particularly those receiving learning support or not performing at expectations.

To more fully reflect their current teaching approaches and practices, leaders and teachers need to continue reviewing and updating curriculum documentation.

The board and leaders should evaluate the impact of plans, including the strategic plan, programmes and practices across the school to ensure their aims for learning, teaching and relationships are met.

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. 

Appraisal audit

During this external evaluation, ERO found that some aspects of the appraisal process were not completed. In order to improve current practice, the board, leaders and teachers should review and improve appraisal practices to enable leaders and teachers to better build their professional capabilities. They should also ensure that all appraisal procedures follow the documented annual cycle and are completed in the specified timeframe to meet requirements.

Provision for international students

Riwaka School is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016. At the time of this external evaluation, there were no international students enrolled at the school.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • the inclusive and respectful culture that places children at the centre of learning and teaching to promote their wellbeing, engagement and learning
  • the broad, rich curriculum that uses the local environment and resources to engage children in learning and deepen their curriculum experiences
  • strong school leadership that creates trusting relationships, effective communication and meaningful parent and whānau involvement in learning.

Next steps

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

  • clearly documenting the evaluation of curriculum reviews, the impact of plans, programmes and practices, and further reporting sufficiency and expectations for progress for specific groups of learners
  • reviewing and improving appraisal practices to enable teachers and the principal to better build their professional capabilities. 

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Dr Lesley Patterson
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

27 March 2018 

About the school 


Riwaka, Motueka

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary

School roll


Gender composition

Female: 56.3%

Male: 43.7%

Ethnic composition

Māori   11%

Pākehā   79 %

Pacific   2%

Other ethnicities   8%

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

February 2018

Date of this report

27 March 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review November 2014

Education Review August 2011

Education Review August 2008