Taipa Area School - 30/06/2017


Taipa Area School has a growing roll that currently stands at 291 Years 1 to 13 students. Most learners are of Māori heritage who whakapapa to local hapu and iwi Ngāti Kahu. There are small groups of Pākehā, Pacific and Asian children.

Since the 2013 ERO review there have been many changes to the senior leadership team. The school is now led by a new principal and two deputy principals have recently been appointed.

The school has had variable trends in student achievement over the past four years. During that period an average of 61 percent of students have achieved the National Standards. At the time of this review there was no information available about the trends and patterns for Year 9 and 10 achievement over the past four years.

In 2016 there were good lifts in Level 1 and 2 achievement in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA). An increasing number of students achieved NCEA merit and excellence endorsements. Māori achievement was higher than overall school achievement in Level 2. However, there is a significant downward trend for Māori at Level 3 and for University Entrance.

Māori students in Taipuna classes have immersion learning opportunities for Years 1 to 9, and bilingual learning in Years 10 to 13. Ngā Whanaketanga data in 2016 show that an average of 65 percent of Year 6 children were achieving across kōrero, tuhituhi, pānui and pangarau. However, there has been no external achievement moderation of these results and ERO is unsure about the dependability of assessment data across Years 1 to 9.

The school is a member of the Far North Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako (CoL).

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

The school is becoming increasingly effective at responding to Māori and other children who need to make accelerated progress. However, some school processes have had variable effectiveness in enabling equitable and excellent student outcomes.

At the time of this review, the school is not yet well placed to provide conditions for children to achieve educational excellence, or to address in-school disparities. Many next steps noted in the 2013 ERO report continue to be priorities for development. There are several areas that the board must improve in order to meet legislative requirements, and to provide the conditions necessary to promote greater equity and excellence for children.

Equity and excellence

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

While the school is becoming increasingly effective at responding to Māori and other children who need to make accelerated progress, the principal and board acknowledge that further deliberate actions are needed to raise achievement.

This year the board’s overall strategic goal is to raise the achievement of all students at all levels. The goal includes all Year 1 to 8 students achieving National Standards, eighty five percent of school leavers achieving NCEA Level 2, and all school leavers achieving NCEA literacy and numeracy. These targets denote a rise in expectations for student success.

Variable trends in student achievement have been evident across the school over the past four years. Tracking trends and patterns of achievement in Taipuna, and for Years 1 to 8 and 13 is limited, in part, due to the low numbers of students at those year levels.

Positive shifts in NCEA Level 1 and 2 achievement may be the result of teachers’ greater focus on discussing and sharing ways to cater for students’ individualised learning and curriculum pathways. An increasing number of students gaining merit and excellence endorsements at NCEA Level 1 and 2 is a positive trend. It is also notable that Māori student achievement in Level 2 was higher than overall school achievement at this level.

Over the past four years, school data show that National Standards achievement in Years 1 to 8 has averaged 62 percent in reading, 55 percent in writing, and 66 percent in mathematics. Overall there remains disparity in achievement across the National Standards for Māori students when compared to the school’s small group of Pākehā children.

In Taipuna, a more meaningful assessment framework, linked to Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, should be developed to guide Ngā Whanaketanga assessment, teaching programmes, and child-led learning.

At the time of this review, no information was available about the trends and patterns of Year 9 and 10 achievement over the past four years.

Teachers in Years 1 to 10 are continuing to develop their use of learning progressions and standardised assessment tools. Leaders recognise the value of using these assessments to more closely track student progress and ensure that individual students are making expected rates of progress.

The principal has identified the need to establish more reliable baseline data this year. She also plans to work with Years 11 to 13 teachers to ensure that course design enables students to gain credits earlier in the year.

Teachers in Years 1 to 8 moderate their writing assessments, and in some cases moderate the evidence for overall judgements about children’s achievement in relation to other National Standards. The principal plans to set up opportunities for staff to moderate assessments with other schools. 

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

School processes are variably effective in enabling equitable and excellent student outcomes.

The new principal has a broad knowledge and experience. Her leadership capabilities will help her to guide the many improvements required to provide more equitable and excellent student outcomes. ERO affirms the priorities identified by the principal and being implemented to improve student achievement, curriculum, and school systems and practices. Initiatives already introduced include:

  • listening more to students’ perspectives about curriculum development

  • increasing senior students’ leadership roles and opportunities

  • introducing a leadership role for the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO)

  • establishing new systems and a leadership team to guide the pastoral, vocational and academic programmes and services for students across the school.

The school has good systems for referrals to Northland agencies, and timely responses regarding students’ requests and needs for counselling and medical advice. Personnel are readily available to students, through the Herewaka centre onsite and iMoko. Students will also be able to access a new student support centre that the pastoral team plans to develop this term.

In 2014 the school charter was reviewed and adapted in consultation with the community. As a result a new vision, strategic goals and a set of valued student outcomes were established. This aspirational work provides a sound theoretical platform for teaching and learning. However, the place of Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, immersion and bilingual learning are not stated in the curriculum delivery model of the charter.

This curriculum initiative was introduced too quickly, and without relevant professional learning for staff. This has required, leaders and staff to take steps retrospectively to ensure that the curriculum model is viable for the Taipa Area School context. Despite this, the school’s newly developing curriculum document reflects current educational theory and modern learning environments. It is also clearly aligned to the school’s charter goals and valued student outcomes.

A useful practice has been established where teaching team leaders plan and evaluate developments in their ‘teaching pods’ in line with the school’s strategic goals and achievement targets. These processes could be more consistently evaluative regarding the effectiveness of developments and their impact on student outcomes.

Teachers are developing more collaborative teaching practices, and student-centred approaches, to guide curriculum programmes across the school. As a result, students have increasing opportunities for cross-curricular learning and there is more flexibility for Year 11 to 13 students to gain course credits.

Teachers have participated in professional learning regarding the programme Positive Behaviour for Learning. Together with the community they have established three school values Positive/Painga, Respect/Maanakitanga, and Teamwork/Mahi tahi.

There is variability in the quality of curriculum delivery in Taipuna. It is necessary now for leaders and teachers to evaluate and develop the implementation of Te Marautanga o Aotearoa.

It is unclear from the documentation available in the school whether the board and previous leaders have historically engaged sufficiently well with the school’s Māori community to plan together for improved outcomes for Māori students.

During 2017 staff held a professional learning day at Toa Toa, a local marae. Opportunities such as this support and build greater connections between the school and the community’s iwi and hapu. The principal plans to approach other marae for similar opportunities.

The board, elected in June 2016, has a good ratio of new and continuing trustees. Board records indicate that discussion and scrutiny of student progress and achievement has been limited. Increasing the board’s level of scrutiny could help the principal, leaders and staff in their efforts to meet achievement targets.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

The 2017 annual plan includes meaningful and purposeful actions planned to progress the charter’s relevant strategic goals and annual targets. Internal evaluation and knowledge building at all levels of the school should be strengthened to guide the school’s next phase of development.

The principal and leaders have identified and acknowledge priorities for staff professional learning that include:

  • student-centred learning, including student-led learning

  • collaborative teaching, and teaching practices to accelerate learning

  • partnership with whānau and parents to support children’s learning

  • more deliberate planning for accelerating learning progress

  • measuring, tracking and recording the progress of individual students

  • evaluation of the effectiveness of strategies for accelerating learning including using ‘Teaching as Inquiry’.

In order to equip students with necessary e-learning skills, it will be necessary to develop a digital learning vision and strategic planning to enact this vision. Such planning would help to guide resourcing, and professional learning for teachers. This should help to ensure equitable student access to e-learning and related curriculum pathways.

Leadership and staffing constraints continue to hinder Taipuna’s strategic development. A philosophy and vision for bilingual and immersion learning, and an enrolment policy should be developed. Curriculum programmes for Years 1 to 9, and Years 10 to 13 should be more clearly based on Te Marautanga o Aotearoa.

The deteriorating state of the school’s buildings inhibits the effectiveness of learning environments, and restricts students’ access and entitlement to curriculum pathways and NCEA qualifications. This is particularly evident in the buildings and facilities used for teaching technology and the arts.

The board chair has planned training for the board with support from the New Zealand School Trustees’ Association (NZSTA). She has approached NZSTA to also help the board rationalise and update the school’s policies, particularly those related to the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Trustees should ensure that board minutes record key discussion points, and reflect more collaborative decision-making at board meetings. Greater democratic processes could be promoted at board level by including student and staff trustee reports that express the views and experiences of students and staff.

Better access for the principal to the records of the school’s evaluation and development over recent years could help support the sustainability of developments.

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

  • 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.

Actions required

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to: board administration, curriculum, personnel, and health and safety.

In order to address these the board must:

  1. Maintain an ongoing programme of self review of policies, plans and programmes, including evaluation of student achievement
    National Administration Guideline 2(b). 
  2. Implement personnel policies, including teachers’ appraisals, to meet the Education Council requirements and to promote high levels of staff performance
    National Administration Guideline 3(a).
  3. Consult with the school’s Māori community regarding policies, plans and targets for improving Māori student achievement
    National Administration Guideline 1(e); 2(c).
  4. Implement a careers education programme for students in Years 7 to 13
    National Administration Guideline 1(f). 
  5. Improve processes for monitoring student attendance s25 Education Act 1989;
    National Administration Guideline 6.
  6. Consult with the community about the school’s health curriculum every two years
    s60B Education Act 1989.

Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

At the time of this review, this school was not well placed to either provide conditions for children to achieve educational excellence, or to address in-school disparities. The main areas of concern are:

  • the quality of board practices, and trustees’ understanding about the roles of governance and management in the school.

Leaders and teachers:

  • have not yet adequately established necessary conditions to effectively accelerate learning and lift achievement

  • are not well placed to achieve and sustain accelerated achievement for all children who need it.

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two years.


ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education and the New Zealand School Trustees Association provide support for the school in order to:

  • promote greater equity and excellence for students and children who need to make accelerated progress

  • provide suitable environments and facilities to allow students’ access to relevant curriculum pathways and qualifications

  • develop clear understandings on the part of the board regarding stewardship and accountability.

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

30 June 2017

About the school 


Taipa, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Composite (Years 1 to 15)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 52% Boys 48%

Ethnic composition



Provision of Māori medium education


Number of Māori medium classes


Total number of students in Māori medium (MME)


Total number of students in Māori language in English medium (MLE)


Number of students in Level 1 MME


Number of students in Level 2 MME


Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

30 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Supplementary Review

February 2013
May 2010
November 2006