Tainui Full Primary School - 19/08/2015


Tainui Full Primary School works hard to give students a strong sense of belonging and provides multiple opportunities for students to experience success. There is a strong emphasis on the agreed values of ‘The Tainui Way’ and a meaningful local curriculum. Students enjoy learning in a positive, settled and supportive environment.

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

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Tainui Full Primary School is located in Tokoroa township catering for 225 students in Years 1 to 8. Considerable community pride is reflected in its attractive, well maintained buildings and spacious grounds. The increasing roll is comprised of 57% Māori, 22% NZ/European Pākehā, 18% Cook Island and 3% other Pacific groups.

Since the 2012 ERO review, the previous board worked with an external consultant to appoint a new principal in 2013. This appointment was followed by the majority of trustees being newly elected to a board. The leadership structure has been reviewed, resulting in the establishment of two new positions and subsequent clarification of roles and responsibilities.

The new principal worked with her leadership team and staff to review the curriculum and introduce the ‘Tainui Way’. This encompasses school wide expectations and values such as respect (whakaute), honesty (pono), responsibility (kawenga), excellence (hiranga). Students readily articulate these values and what it means for them in English, Māori and sign language.

Student leadership is an integral part of the school culture – with many opportunities provided to display leadership and citizenship at all levels.

At the time of this review, senior leaders were continuing to build a shared understanding about effective teaching and learning within the teaching team. The school has introduced an effective programme for improving student behaviour and relationship through the Ministry of Education initiative – Positive Behaviours For Learning (PB4L). The school actively supports students and their whānau by providing a well-being budget and taking advantage of initiatives such as fruit and milk programmes to ensure students are well prepared for learning. There is a positive tone and settled atmosphere where students want to be at school and enjoy learning.

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

The principal and members of the leadership team have introduced a range of new ideas to improve the school’s use of achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. These include:

  • consistency in the use of assessment tools to inform teacher planning
  • professional learning and development to support staff accuracy in making teacher judgements about student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • improved collation, analysis and reporting of data at a leadership level
  • using achievement information well to provide appropriate intervention programmes to support students at risk of underachieving.

The 2014 achievement information indicates that while students are achieving in reading and mathematics at comparable levels to similar schools, they are well below national expectations. Achievement levels for writing are significantly lower than similar schools. The board, principal and staff are taking appropriate steps to address the situation.

School leaders acknowledge that annual targets should be more specific and linked to identified groups of students to raise achievement. These targeted students should be monitored, tracked and their progress analysed regularly. Trustees, senior leaders, teachers, students and parents should be informed to ensure a cohesive approach to accelerate progress for students at risk of not achieving positive learning outcomes.

3 Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

The school’s recently reviewed curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning.

Teachers establish and articulate high expectations for learning. They have worked hard to foster a positive culture for learning that is underpinned by PB4L and integrates the concepts of the ‘Tainui Way’. Teachers actively build positive relationships with students and know how they learn. Learning occurs in attractive classroom environments that are enhanced with colourful displays of student work and literacy and numeracy information charts and posters.

Ngati Raukawa Youth Workers, in partnership with the school, run a meaningful leadership guidance programme with a view to building confident, assertive, influential role models in the school and wider community. Māori students are well represented in leadership roles. Student voice is actively sought, valued and used when reviewing the effectiveness of programmes. Every opportunity is taken to actively promote school wide expectations and values. The school takes an holistic approach to student success and regularly celebrates sporting, cultural, and performing arts achievements. Whānau and the community are invited in to share in these successes.

The school has taken on the initiative of building educationally powerful connections with whānau through the Mutukaroa programme Years 1 to 3. This provides parents with resource materials to support their child’s learning at home. The school has improved its relationships and communication systems with whānau by regular reporting, parent interviews, newsletters and the use of digital technology. Whānau appreciate the approachability of the principal, leaders and trustees.

Since 2011, staff culture is now more focused on sharing professional practices to improve learning outcomes for students.

In some classes ERO observed teachers using a variety of positive strategies to engage students in their learning. These include:

  • open ended questions to promote higher order thinking
  • students grouped according to ability and differentiated learning tasks
  • goal setting using child friendly progressions and visibility of learning objectives
  • teachers inquiring into their practice to improve programme delivery.

School leaders acknowledge that to ensure school wide consistency the next steps should be:

  • to continue to strengthen processes that promote high levels of professional practice in all classrooms
  • to ensure all teachers use data to inform programme planning and to effectively target and support students at risk of underachieving
  • use deliberate acts of teaching to accelerate progress
  • to develop a deeper understanding of effective teaching strategies to improve learning outcomes for students.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

The school is developing a Māori dimension to the programme to promote educational success for Māori students. Aspects of this programme include:

  • the integration of Māori themes into the curriculum
  • kupu of the week that is explicitly taught and clarified to assist staff and students to build confidence and competence in te reo Māori
  • karakia and waiata naturally integrated into the practices of students, staff and trustees
  • a cultural evening led by parents with workshops on art, weaving, raukau, Cook Island drumming, tying a lava lava – and using the opportunity to build productive community partnerships
  • iwi involvement in the school through the leadership programme and ki-o-rahi inter-school tournaments
  • the introduction of waka ama and the school-community partnership group working together and linking with local schools
  • the formation of a Māori and Pacific focus group and draft programme plan.

In addition, school leaders recognise the need to develop a strategic plan that focuses on mapping out a clear and collective approach to:

  • support teachers to implement a sequential te reo Māori language programme
  • continue to develop and promote Māori cultural appreciation school wide
  • identify initiatives focused specifically on raising Māori student achievement.

This plan needs to include agreed time-frames, delegated responsibilities and make effective use of students' and whānau views and aspirations.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The following developments around school leadership, management and governance have increased the school’s capacity to sustain and improve its performance.

The board has undertaken extensive training to improve their knowledge, understanding and responsibilities of trusteeship.

Trustees actively engage well with the achievement information provided by the principal and are confident to ask the hard questions to assist with strategic decision-making.

Trustees are visible and well known, and are building positive relationships with staff, students and the community and teachers regard them as supportive and understanding employers.

Self review is being used effectively to bring about a change in strategic direction.

Through collaborative leadership, the principal has effectively managed to focus staff on actively working towards achieving the school’s vision and goals.

The school actively identifies and draws on community resources and expertise to improve learning opportunities for students.

Sustained and improved school performance is likely if the principal, supported by members of the leadership team continue the valuable work they are currently doing to:

  • improve overall progress and achievement
  • develop school wide consistency in teacher practice
  • strengthen parent/whānau involvement in their child’s learning.

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.


Tainui Full Primary School works hard to give students a strong sense of belonging and provides multiple opportunities for students to experience success. There is a strong emphasis on the agreed values of ‘The Tainui Way’ and a meaningful local curriculum. Students enjoy learning in a positive, settled and supportive environment.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

19 August 2015

About the School


Tokoroa, Waikato

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 52%

Boys 48%

Ethnic composition



Cook Island

Other Pacific





Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

19 August 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2012

June 2009

May 2006