Tarras School - 06/04/2017


Tarras School has 14 students, ranging from Years 1 to 8. One third are of Māori descent.

In 2015, a Limited Statutory Manager was appointed for a 9 month period by the Ministry of Education.

With the appointment of the new principal there has been a significant improvement in teaching and learning. This has resulted in a greater number of children experiencing success in their learning. The school community is now more positive about, and involved in, the school.

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

The school is achieving equitable outcomes for all children. Teachers are very responsive to children’s learning needs, interests and strengths. The school effectively supports all children who need additional help to succeed in their learning.

Processes that support effective management and governance are still being developed and embedded. The school needs to strengthen its internal evaluation processes to ensure ongoing improvements to teaching and learning.

At the time of this evaluation, children were experiencing real-life contexts for learning. Children were highly engaged and enthusiastic about their school and their learning.

Children are achieving well. The school demonstrates good progress towards achieving equity in educational outcomes supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.

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

Equity and excellence

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

This school very effectively supports Māori and other children who need additional help to succeed in their learning. Children’s strengths and needs are identified early. Specific programmes are put in place to support and extend these children. This has led to accelerated learning.

In 2016 almost all Māori and other children achieved at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The children who needed extra support in 2016 have made accelerated progress, and nearly all have reached the National Standards.

A key school priority is to challenge each child to be the best they can be and to achieve success in their learning. This is evident in children’s academic success, the way they demonstrate the school’s values, and their interest in learning within and beyond the school.

The procedures teachers use for identifying children’s levels of achievement are thorough. Teachers make well informed judgements about children’s progress and learning.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

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

The school’s processes effectively enable equity and excellence for all children.

The curriculum and teaching are highly responsive to children’s learning needs and strengths. Teachers, through affirming and caring relationships, have created a settled and positive learning environment. Children are highly engaged and motivated. They know how to work well both independently and alongside their classmates.

The principal is innovative and improvement focused. She has well founded ideas based on current research to further enrich children’s learning. She has developed detailed guidelines to support teachers in the delivery of the school’s curriculum. These state what best teaching practice to support excellence for all children should look like in this school.

Some effective governance and leadership practices are in place. For example, the school has a useful strategic and annual plan, which has appropriate strategic aims. In 2016, the school made good progress against these to raise student achievement. The principal ensures that the board is well informed about students’ progress and achievement, and school events and operations.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

Some aspects of governance and leadership need strengthening.

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

Internal evaluation is not well understood or well implemented. Rigorous use of internal evaluation will help the leaders and teachers identify what strategies and interventions are most effective in accelerating children’s progress and achievement.

The appraisal system does not meet the Education Council requirements. A robust appraisal system will give the board and school leaders’ assurance that children are well supported in their learning.

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.

Going forward

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

Children are achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.

Agreed next steps are to:

  • build teachers’ and trustees’ understanding of effective internal evaluation
  • adopt and implement useful guidelines and a framework to support robust evaluation
  • extend internal evaluation to include evaluation of the curriculum, teaching and learning
  • implement a more rigorous appraisal system, including documenting clear appraisal procedures.

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Southern (Te Waipounamu)

6 April 2017

About the school


Central Otago

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1-8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls: 4 Boys: 9

Ethnic composition

Māori: 4

Pākehā: 9

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

February 2017

Date of this report

6 April 2017

Most recent ERO reports

May 2014

November 2010

September 2009