Te Hihi School - 31/05/2013

1 Context

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

Te Hihi School, located in the rural area of Karaka, Auckland provides education for students from Years 1 to 8. The school has good community support, with strong family connections. It will be celebrating its centennial in 2014.

The school’s recently developed vision reflects the context of the school and its focus on learning, culture and relationships. Junior and senior syndicates have also been restructured to form vertical teams, so that junior and senior students are now mixed. This has brought greater sharing of teacher expertise, easier transitions between classes and more meaningful relationships between students.

The school has a settled and caring culture. Effective teacher practice focuses on student learning and wellbeing. Good leadership and high expectations for student achievement are positive features. The school environment, the size of the school and its strong values of character, kindness and courtesy attract out of zone enrolments.

2 Learning

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

The school makes good use of achievement information to make positive changes for learners. Students are highly engaged in learning and enjoy participating in their schooling. Teachers provide a positive and nurturing environment. Students have the opportunity to be involved in a wide variety of leadership opportunities. The students take on this responsibility with pride.

The school’s achievement information indicates that most students achieve National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Students identified as not achieving are involved in programmes to accelerate their progress. Teacher aides work alongside teachers so that teachers can use their expertise to support those who are underachieving. As a result significant progress has been made by these students.

Teachers cater well for special needs students and are supported by high-quality teacher aide programmes.

Students are becoming more aware of their own progress and achievement. They are developing skills to lead conferences and talk about their learning with their parents and teachers. Parents receive twice yearly reports that show how well their children are achieving in relation to the National Standards and where their learning needs to now focus.

The board of trustees receives good progress reports for each year group. Trustees also get reports on the progress of students receiving additional support. They use this information to plan and to evaluate the impact of programmes designed to improve outcomes for students. Charter targets are appropriately focused on accelerating the progress of students not meeting National Standards.

School leaders acknowledge the value of setting a teaching and learning goal for Māori in relation to the school's Māori Responsiveness Strategy. This would allow school leaders and the board to evaluate the impact of the strategy on raising Māori student achievement.

ERO and school leaders agree that future developments should include a focus on giving students more opportunities to choose what they learn and how they will learn. School leaders and teachers should work on further developing an inquiry approach to learning and teaching through more detailed analysis of student achievement information. This should help teachers to better target student learning.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum promotes and supports student learning through a broad range of learning opportunities. There is a strong focus on writing, reading and mathematics. Good professional development helps teachers to teach the curriculum well. Students have opportunities to learn through sports, music and art. They have good access to computers in most classrooms and many bring their own computers to school. These features are important components of the school’s curriculum.

The school has recently implemented a whiriwhiri ako approach to curriculum planning. This approach means teachers work to link learning to real life experiences and to give students the chance to find out about things they are interested in. School leaders have identified the need to monitor the effectiveness of this approach as it is embedded, to ensure that it is coherent and helps students' learning.

Teachers provide good quality teaching programmes. They have high expectations for learning and let students know what they are learning and why. Students are actively involved in developing learning intentions and success criteria for the lesson. Teachers plan and share knowledge with each other and are supported by an effective professional learning and development programme.

School leaders are currently reviewing the curriculum. They have agreed to focus this review on:

  • identifying the knowledge concepts that link and underpin topics
  • the extent to which Māori tikanga is reflected in all learning areas.

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

Twenty-three percent of the students at Te Hihi School are Māori. They identify with a range of iwi. Māori students have positive attitudes to school and learning. They benefit from the respectful relationships that underpin the school culture and enjoy the leadership opportunities provided. School leaders recently held a tamariki Māori hui and a whānau Māori hui. The purpose of these hui was to provide a context where whānau could be more involved in their children's learning and to look at how to create a school environment that supports Māori to achieve success as Māori.

To increase a greater understanding of local kawa, the school is developing a relationship with iwi based at Whatapaka marae. Tangata whenua have been involved in hangi preparations, Māori language week activities, and the blessing of the native bush area located on school grounds.

The principal acknowledges the importance of integrating more Māori perspectives into the curriculum. He has undertaken to translate school values into Māori, have waiata at assemblies and to initiate a school kapa haka group. The school has considered incorporating te reo Māori into the curriculum. A planned Treaty of Waitangi course for staff and the wider community should promote a greater understanding of the bicultural foundations of Aotearoa New Zealand.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The leadership of the school is highly effective. The leadership team has a range of skills and experience. School leaders have a clear understanding of their roles and support each other. They are reflective, professional and well informed by research about effective teaching practice. They use good self-review practices to inform decision making. School leaders acknowledge that they should now look more deeply into student achievement data.

School leaders provide clear guidelines and expectations for staff. A robust performance management system provides feedback to staff on planning, assessment and teaching practice. There are clear links between staff appraisal and school strategic goals. Appraisals now include Tātaiako: cultural competencies for teachers of Māori learners.

The board governs the school effectively and supports the principal and teachers in their work. Trustees have a clear understanding of their governance role and have a range of skills and links to the community. They are committed to promoting the best outcomes for all students.

Trustees are aware that to encourage sustainable systems and processes they should seek to widen the net for attracting new trustees. The board has agreed that it could strengthen its self review by receiving more regular reports from the principal against strategic goals and by developing systems for reviewing its own effectiveness.

The school welcomes community involvement. There is good communication with parents and a range of opportunities for parents to be involved in school activities and programmes.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989.

No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review. The school has attested that it complies with the Code and ERO’s findings indicate that the school’s processes for international students are sound.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

31 May 2013

About the School


Papakura, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys 56% Girls 44%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
















Review team on site

February 2013

Date of this report

31 May 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

March 2010

November 2006

March 2004