Tauhoa School - 08/11/2018

School Context

Tauhoa School is situated in the rural Kaipara region, and provides for students from Years 1 to 8. There are currently 41 students on the roll, 41 percent of whom identify as Māori.

Children from Years 1 to 3 learn together in the junior classroom with a full-time teacher. The principal and a third teacher share teaching responsibilities in the senior classroom. A counsellor is available to students and staff. A reading recovery tutor and teacher aides are also valued team members.

The mission ‘Learning for Life - Living to Learn’ is fostered by values of respect, empathy, thinking and self-motivation. Key goals highlight the importance of student success, an effective school culture and sustainable systems.

The principal regularly reports to the board schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • reading, writing and mathematics achievement data

  • learning support programmes

  • engagement and wellbeing for success.

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?

School achievement data show that the school continues to work towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all students. It does this by providing a wide variety of support to create a platform of equity for students tailored to their individual needs.

Despite this only a small majority of students across the school achieves at expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics. The school has supported some students to move from well below to below expectations since the 2015 ERO review. Māori learners are over-represented in the group of students who have not yet been effectively supported to make accelerated progress.

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

The school is continuing to explore ways to support accelerated progress for those students who need this. However, little progress has been made since ERO’s 2015 review in improving overall student achievement.

The principal has recently established a wider range of withdrawal and intervention programmes for students to learn in small and focused groups with teacher-aide support. She has also introduced a new mathematics scheme schoolwide. Digital learning programmes are being used to better meet individual students’ needs in literacy and mathematics.

It is too early to know the effectiveness of recent changes, but the principal plans to review their impact on achievement data towards the end of the year.

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?

The school mission and values are a clear guide for operations at all levels. They are articulated and enacted by students, who show great pride in their school. They value the range of opportunities that the school provides, and are keen to learn. Students learn in mixed-age classes and appreciate tuakana/teina relationships with their peers. Classrooms are settled and focused environments. Professional development for teachers prioritises positive behaviour for learning and has included a focus on the ‘Spiral of Inquiry’ as part of their work with the Ara Tuhono school cluster.

Since the 2015 ERO review, there has been a greater focus on incorporating te reo Māori through the classroom programmes. A staff member leads the kapa haka group effectively. As a result, students have performance and pōwhiri opportunities.

The board of trustees shows deep commitment to the school. Governance training is well received. Trustees work collaboratively to foster strategic goals by resourcing initiatives designed to enhance student outcomes. They are kept well informed about achievement data and are improvement focused. Programmes and interventions designed to promote student success are well resourced. Significant property development since 2015 has resulted in a modern and attractive environment.

The board, principal and staff are keen to continue growing relationships at all levels to promote valued student outcomes. Teachers ensure parents are well informed about their children’s achievements. Recently initiated conferences between parents, students and teachers identify goals and next learning steps. Teacher inquiry is a key element of the appraisal process and prompts greater sharing of data, and discussion about programmes and interventions across staff, and with the board. The Ara Tuhono school cluster also provides good opportunities for staff and trustees to connect and collaborate, with a learner focus.

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

The board and principal are keen to develop a more robust approach to internal evaluation. Use of formalised, focused evaluation would support the school to raise student achievement in more targeted and strategic ways. Enhanced evaluation practice would help the board determine the effectiveness of operations at all levels. It should help to identify aspects of programmes and practices that have the greatest impact on student success to guide future resourcing decisions.

The principal needs to introduce robust systems that support teachers to use key information from assessments, data and inquiry, to enhance their practices. More regular, deliberate team meetings should focus on identifying and building responsive practices to improve core classroom programmes. These conversations should focus on team analysis and use of data, sharing of teachers’ inquiry and evaluation of the impact of teaching on target students’ progress. More coherent and coordinated systems would assist the principal in leading progress toward targets.

More consistent use of formative assessment practices in classroom teaching and learning would prompt greater student involvement in discussions about their learning, goals and progress. This would build students’ sense of ownership and agency in relation to their learning. Consideration should be given to planning additional ways to involve parents in these learning conversations, including strengthening the school’s connection with whānau Māori.

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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to the Careers programme and the Health Curriculum.

In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  1. review and update the school’s curriculum guidelines to document a Careers programme for students in Years 7 and 8 National Administration Guideline, 1f

  2. consult with the community about the suitability of the Health Curriculum at least once every two years Education Act 1989, S60B.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • improve meeting minutes by recording intended actions, and tracking and identifying resolutions with greater clarity

  • discuss and document issues of a confidential nature in meetings where the public is excluded

  • adhere to the school’s policies and procedures at all times when, for example, dealing with complaints to the board

  • police vet those adults who supervise students’ overnight camps.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • respectful relationships and positive student behaviours that result in a supportive school culture

  • the collation and analysis of data to provide a clear picture of achievement that informs the work of the board and staff

  • a focus on improvement, and a strong commitment to resourcing initiatives that promote valued outcomes for students.

Next steps

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

  • developing more robust internal evaluation processes and practices to support school improvement

  • more coherent, deliberate and coordinated actions at all levels to accelerate students’ progress

  • supporting the teaching team to develop responsive classroom programmes, and increase students’ ownership of their learning goals.

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education consider providing support for the school in order to bring about improvement in:

  • student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • formative teaching practices.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

8 November 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 24 Girls 17

Ethnic composition

Māori 17
Pākehā 21
other ethnic groups 3

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

September 2018

Date of this report

8 November 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2015
Education Review June 2012
Supplementary Review March 2009