Tautoro School - 09/12/2016

1 Context

Tautoro School is a small rural school located outside of Kaikohe within the hapū boundaries of Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Moerewa and Ngāti Hine. It continues to be an important part of the community. Many staff and whānau have long standing and inter-generational connections with the school. The school promotes the wellbeing of children, staff and whānau, and provides them with an inclusive environment for learning and working. A Māori immersion unit caters for children in Years 7 and 8.

Since ERO's 2012 review, the school has experienced some significant change in leadership. The current principal was appointed in June 2015. She is working with a new board and staff to set a new educational direction for the school. This new direction, supported by professional development for teachers and trustees, is targeted at improving outcomes for students.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are captured in the school's whakataukī, Taonga tuku iho te tamaiti and the vision 'empowered, confident, well-equipped citizens of the world'. This vision is underpinned by the 12 waka hoe values. These values are promoted to ensure that children, staff and whānau develop a shared understanding of them. Valued outcomes for all learners in this school community focus on learners:

  • being confident in their own language, culture and identity
  • engaging well in learning and taking responsibility for their personal learning
  • feeling empowered to be independent thinkers and resilient learners.

The school's achievement information shows that for the past three years approximately 70 percent of children have achieved at or above the National Standards in reading. By 2015 in writing, over 70 percent of children have achieved at or above the National Standards. In mathematics, just over 62 percent of children have achieved at or above the National Standards.

School achievement data shows gender-based differences, with girls' literacy and mathematics achievement exceeding that of boys. However, over the past three years boys' reading achievement shows a positive upward trend. While gains of 20 percent in writing are evident in 2015, boys' achievement remains significantly lower than girls.

The school's strong commitment to immersion and bilingual education reflects the aspirations and values of the school community. Children take pride in the recognition of te reo Māori me ōna tīkanga. They proudly participate in school pōwhiri with older children leading whaikōrero, karanga and waiata.

Children transition from Level 3 te reo Māori to Level 2 when they enter the immersion unit at the start of Year 7. The change in leadership and teaching staff over the last four years required that in 2015 most of the children in the immersion unit were assessed in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to the National Standards. The small number of children who were assessed against Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori (NWRM) in pānui, kōrero, pāngarau and tuhituhi did not meet the standards.

Considerable professional development is now underway to support teachers working in the Māori curriculum, Te Mātauranga o Aotearoa (TMoA). This support is focused on increasing teachers' and leaders' understanding of assessment and moderation practices to confidently implement the NWRM. Reports to parents in relation to NWRM do not yet meet Ministry of Education requirements. School leaders and trustees recognise that continuing to strengthen the provision for children in the immersion unit is a key priority.

School data over the past three years indicate that the majority of Year 8 children leave Tautoro School achieving at or above the National Standards in reading. Close to 70 percent achieve in writing and just over 50 percent of the Year 8 cohort achieve at or above in mathematics. At the time of this review, there was no NWRM achievement data for Year 8 children over the past three years.

School targets have consistently focused on increasing the number of children achieving at or above the National Standards and NWRM. An agreed next step is to reframe charter targets to specifically focus on groups of children who need to make accelerated progress and optimise the level of challenge in achieving these targets for leaders and trustees.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has implemented a range of new initiatives focused on accelerating the achievement of all children. These initiatives include:

  • building teachers' capacity and capability to support acceleration by promoting a coaching approach for improvement
  • strengthening moderation processes to increase the reliability of achievement information and support teacher judgements
  • developing an action plan to accelerate progress and achievement in writing
  • improving systems to track and monitor the progress and achievement of children who need to make accelerated progress
  • planning improvements that focus on building learning relationships with children and their whānau through the local cluster network
  • providing teachers with opportunities to reflect on and change their practice.

These initiatives are at the early stages of implementation.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school is increasingly effective in responding to children whose learning and achievement require acceleration, including children with special learning needs. Information gathered shows that the school has had some success in accelerating the progress of these children in writing. School leaders are committed to extending successful acceleration strategies to reach all students who are underachieving.

School achievement data is now more reliable. Teachers are using assessment information well to plan classroom programmes and target children needing to make accelerated progress. The new collaborative approach for accelerating student achievement is building a stronger professional community.

Increasingly, evidenced-based decision making, coherent improvement plans and a culturally responsive local curriculum help trustees and staff to maintain a clear focus on the promotion of equitable outcomes for children. Systems and processes for identifying and responding to children's learning needs have been evaluated and strengthened. They result in accelerated progress for some of these students, in addition to increased engagement and whānau support.

An environment that strongly values and supports Māori children's language, culture and identity supports success. The Waka Hoe values promote a strong sense of whanaungatanga and tino rangatiratanga for the children, staff and whānau of Tautoro School.

The school is an active member of the Kaikohekohe Education Trust. The Trust consists of a cluster of local schools, which is focused on raising achievement and providing a future focused learning environment in partnership with whānau. Key strategies and actions for improvement are clearly aligned to the school's vision and valued outcomes. Teachers are moderating writing scripts within the cluster to further develop their understanding of the National Standards and build the reliability of achievement information.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The school's curriculum and organisational processes are becoming more effective in promoting equity and excellence for all children. The strategic plan provides a clear direction to achieve the school's vision, values, goals and priorities.

The values-based, culturally responsive curriculum supports children as confident, capable learners. It promotes digital learning technologies to enable more inclusive and personalised learning pathways for children. School leaders recognise that it is now timely to review and redesign the school curriculum using The New Zealand Curriculum and TMoA. ERO affirms the school's intent to develop a more connected curriculum that further promotes children's ownership of learning.

Children benefit from a settled and positive school tone. They experience success in a broad range of sporting, cultural and outdoor activities. The school's active promotion and support for children's wellbeing impacts positively on their engagement and learning.

Trustees, school leaders and staff have high expectations for all children to experience and celebrate success. The principal has been pivotal in leading organisational change to improve student outcomes and teacher capability. She has worked collaboratively to increase the school's professional and improvement-focused culture.

Trustees have accessed appropriate training to increase their understanding of their stewardship roles and responsibilities. This has included the new board chair attending the New Zealand School Trustees' Association residential workshops.

The principal has developed connected action plans to set a new educational direction for the school through internal evaluation. This development has included input from children, staff, trustees and whānau. These plans indicate a well-considered commitment to accelerating learning, improving teacher practice and increasing learning centred relationships with whānau. ERO affirms the school’s new direction as both timely and necessary.

School leaders promote a culture of learning for change. Together they are deliberate in building a culture of professional inquiry to improve teacher practice and increase valued outcomes for children. The teachers’ performance appraisals are linked to the new Practising Teacher Criteria (PTCs). Senior leaders are aligning the appraisal evidence more closely to the PTCs and could now access external support to help build a more tailored appraisal system.

5 Going forward

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

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

The leadership team fosters a school culture of relational trust where staff collaborate and are open to making changes to improve outcomes for children. Trustees and school leaders have a clear vision for school improvement and development. School leaders are capable, motivated and collaborative. They recognise that a key next step is to consolidate and apply new learning from the multiple professional development initiatives, to build a shared understanding of excellence across the school.

School leaders and trustees agree that the next steps in school development include:

  • reviewing the Tautoro Curriculum and expectations for teaching and learning, as part of building greater coherence and challenge across Years 1 to 8
  • continuing to focus on building teachers' capability to accelerate progress and increase student ownership of their learning
  • developing an action plan specifically aimed at supporting the teaching and learning in the Māori Immersion Unit.

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

6 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 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

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

During the course of the review ERO identified one area of non-compliance that requires attention. To comply with regulations the board and school leaders must:

  • report to students and their parents in plain language, in writing, at least twice a year in relation to Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori in pānui, tuhituhi, pangarau and kōrero.
    National Administration Guideline (NAG) 2A.

7 Recommendation

Tautoro School is well placed to implement plans to enable more students to achieve better results with less inequity across the school. To ensure that the school's improvement momentum is maintained, children, teachers, leaders and trustees should continue developing their evaluative capability. Evidenced-based evaluation should focus on the effectiveness of new practices and the impact they have on accelerating student progress and teacher development. Learning from evaluation findings should guide the school's development and direction. 

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

9 December 2016

About the school 


Kaikohe, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 48 Girls 37

Ethnic composition





Special Features

Māori Immersion Class Puna (Early Childhood Playgroup)

Review team on site

October 2016

Date of this report

9 December 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

November 2012

August 2009

July 2007