Te Kao School - 30/10/2015

1 Context

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

Tēnā koutou te kura o Te Kao. Tēnei rā te mihi ki te tumuaki, te poari, ngā kaiako, ngā kaimahi me ngā tamariki hoki. Tēnā hoki koutou e hāpai ana te mātauranga mō ō tātou tamariki, ki ngā teiteitanga o te ao Māori me te ao Pākehā. Ko te tūmanako, kia tū tangata ai rātou i roto i tēnei ao hurihuri mō āpōpō. Noho ora mai i raro i ngā manaakitanga o te runga rawa. Tēnā rā koutou katoa.

Te Kao School is the second most northern school in New Zealand. It is a small rural school that caters for 37 students from Years 1 to 8. All students are Māori and identify with the local iwi of Te Aupouri.

The school’s whakatauki Kia Marama and values underpin the inclusive school culture. Values are regularly reinforced with students and include kaitiakitanga, aroha ki te tangata and rangatiratanga. The school has an affirming and supportive tone.

The Northland community of Te Kao has long-standing and inter-generational connections with the school. Local whānau, including kaumatua, are loyal and supportive of the school. Students benefit from this extended whānau support.

In consultation with the school community and iwi, the board set a new long-term vision to become a Kura-a-iwi. In 2014, a Teina Wahanga Māori class was established. This junior class provides Māori immersion for Years 1 to 3 students. The senior class is bilingual Māori for Years 4 to 8 students.

The 2013 ERO report noted good governance and leadership, strong whānau support and a positive school tone. These areas of good school performance continue to be noteworthy. The 2013 report suggested improving the analysis of student achievement information and strategically planning for the development of te reo and Te Aupouritanga. Good progress has been made in these areas.

2 Learning

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

The school is developing some useful processes that help teachers and the board to use achievement information better. The board set appropriate achievement targets and develop plans that help them monitor student progress over time.

Teachers engage with students in positive and respectful ways. Teachers use some effective teaching strategies that promote student engagement. As a result, students are focused on learning tasks. Senior students are developing an understanding about their own learning, progress and achievement.

The principal works with teachers to moderate their overall judgements about student learning in relation to Ngā Whanaketanga and the National Standards. Teachers analyse and use student achievement information to guide programme planning. Increasingly teachers are using achievement data to discuss their practice and focus more closely on those students at risk of not achieving.

Students with special educational needs are well supported by staff. Individual education plans are developed with whānau, staff and the guidance of external support. Teacher aides participate in relevant training that helps them support students with specific learning needs.

Teachers have recently reviewed reports to parents. Parents receive good information about their children’s progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards through regular reports and student discussions at school. Teachers should review the timeliness of anniversary reporting for those students in years 1 to 3.

The principal and board acknowledge that to continue making positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement the next steps are:

  • reviewing, clarifying and strengthening assessment and moderation processes
  • extending teaching strategies that enhance students’ ownership of learning
  • exploring initiatives that could further accelerate student’s progress and extend those students who may need it.

3 Curriculum

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

Te Kao School’s curriculum appropriately promotes and supports student learning. It places strong emphasis on literacy and mathematics, and providing a localised curriculum. It increasingly provides opportunities for learning through information and communication technologies (ICT). Local kaumatua and kaiarahi i te reo support tamariki by speaking te reo Māori. Students participate in a range of learning opportunities including sporting, cultural and environmental education opportunities.

Settled learning environments promote and support student learning. Students report that they feel valued and safe. They benefit from good tuakana/teina relationships with each other and their positive interactions with teachers. Students' social and emotional competence is well supported.

Te Kao School has long standing relationships with the neighbouring marae based kohanga reo. This relationship helps to ensure children experience a seamless start to school.

The principal, board and ERO agree that the following next steps could further promote and support student learning:

  • developing student-centred approaches that give learners more opportunities to lead and respond to learning that interests them
  • continuing to align Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, The New Zealand Curriculum, with the expectations of the Te Aupouri education strategy
  • urgently accessing resources to better help students with their learning.

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

Te Kao School very effectively promotes educational success for Māori, as tamariki of Te Aupouri. All students identify as Māori. Students are deeply immersed in te reo me ōna tikanga Māori that affirms their language, culture and identity and strongly reinforces Te Aupouritanga. They actively participate as leaders in school hui, events at the marae and pōwhiri.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Te Kao School is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The board is made up of a mix of experienced and new trustees. They are representative of the school community and have identified that ongoing training to support their governance role is useful.

The principal has a collaborative leadership style. He is actively involved in the community and provides opportunities to meet with parents and whānau. Whānau comment that staff and the principal are approachable.

Teachers participate in professional learning and development and access both Māori and English medium facilitators. In 2014, teachers worked collaboratively with neighbouring schools, enabling them to build relationships and professional capability, and to share expertise.

School representatives have worked with the iwi over time to develop a draft Māori Language and Education Strategy for Te Aupouri. The strategy prioritises Te Aupouritanga, life-long and intergenerational learning.

Staff are committed to teaching te reo Māori to parents and whānau to enable them to support their tamariki at home. Regular opportunities include after school classes and Whānau Reo within the home environment.

Local community groups use school facilities, including an after school programme and Te Aho o te Kura Pounamu. The board, community and iwi hope to extend the range of programmes they can offer for students and the wider community of Te Kao to further enrich learning opportunities for all.

Self review processes are developing and are responsive to implementing goals of the school’s charter. Effective communication supports consultation processes and the sharing of information.

The principal, board and ERO agree that to continue to improve its performance it will be important to:

  • develop self-review processes that foster inquiry, greater critique and evaluation
  • strengthen the teacher appraisal processes
  • develop board processes that support succession planning
  • reinstate the school library to further promote student access to quality resources for learning.

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.

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • analyse the impact of transience on student learning and engagement
  • receive regular information about student attendance.


Te Kao School continues to provide good quality education. The school is the focal point of the community. All students are Māori and identify with the local iwi of Te Aupouri. The settled tone of the school enhances student learning and engagement. Educational success for Māori, as Māori, is strongly promoted.

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

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

About the School


Te Kao, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys      24
Girls       13

Ethnic composition



Review team on site

September 2015

Date of this report

30 October 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Supplementary Review

February 2013
November 2009
October 2006