Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Whatatutu - 07/06/2012

1. Context

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

Tū tonu mai te Kura o Whatatutu i raro i to maunga tapu o Maungahaumia, i te taha o to awa o Mangatu/Waipaoa, i te maru o te marae o Mangatū. Tēnei te mihi ki a koutou e rapu ana i te huarahi pai mō ō koutou tamariki mokopuna. Ki te pōari, te tumuaki, ngā kaiako, ngā mātua, me te iwi o Ngā Ariki Kaipūtahi/Te Aitanga a Mahaki, tēnā koutou katoa. Tēnā rawa koutou, kia kaha tonu i mau ki ngā tikanga o te Haahi o Te Wairua Tapu. Noho ora mai i raro i ngā manaakitanga o te runga rawa.

Te Kura o Whatatutu is a small rural school that caters for students from Years 1 to 8. All students identify as Māori and trace their whakapapa to the tupuna Rawiri Tamanui. The school is an integral part of the Whatatutu community. Staff and whānau are proud of their school and the opportunities it provides for tamariki. The school environment is spacious and well maintained and since the last ERO review the two classrooms have been refurbished. The school is well organised into two small composite classes, a junior class for Years 0 to 3 and a senior class for students in Years 5 to 8.

The board of trustees consults with school community who share their aspirations for whānau success and the education of the Whatatutu/Mangatu child. With the support of whānau, an application has been lodged with the Ministry of Education (MoE) to transition the school to a kura-a-iwi, offering full immersion education from Years 1 to 13. The school has contacted the MoE to begin discussions about the transition process. However, the principal and the board acknowledge, and ERO agrees that, to achieve a successful transition it will be necessary to improve the school’s curriculum, assessment, teaching and learning and compliance with legislative requirements.

2. Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Students are keen to learn and are engaging well in some aspects of the school’s learning programmes. Tamariki consistently model the school values of whanaungatanga and tuakana/teina relationships to support their learning. Tamariki have opportunities to participate in co-curricular activities.

Teachers have gathered some student achievement information using Māori medium assessment tools. The achievement information indicates that some students achieve well. The board has been proactive in addressing boys’ achievement and an initiative to improve boys’ engagement with their learning began recently.

During the course of this review ERO was unable to find convincing evidence of children’s learning progress. This is in part a result of the school’s transition from The New Zealand Curriculum toTe Marautanga o Aotearoa.

The principal acknowledges that teachers require further support to understand and use student assessment data to guide teaching and learning. Given that this issue was identified in the 2010 ERO report, professional development to assist teachers to understand and use assessment information is now a key priority. Improving their understanding and use of assessment information will enable teachers to share achievement information with students so that students can take more ownership of their learning.

The school has reported student achievement information in relation to the Ngā Whanaketanga to the board and parents. The principal acknowledges that specific measurable targets should be set in relation to the achievement data.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s broad curriculum supports students’ development of their language, culture and identity. An important next step is to document Te Kura o Whatatutu curriculum so that it reflects all learning areas, community aspirations, the school context and the school’s student graduate profile. This should be shared with the board, staff, parents and students.

Teachers participate in targeted professional learning and development to strengthen and increase their use of te reo Māori and information and communication and technologies (ICT). The enviro-school programme makes links to the local area and provides a good example of a meaningful, interesting and relevant learning context.

The board and ERO agree that the principal and teachers require focussed support to develop and implement a school curriculum. In addition, students are likely to benefit from teachers improving their planning for individual and group learning needs. It would be useful if planning templates indicate specific learning and achievement outcomes linked to te Marautanga o Aotearoa.

Developing a robust action plan with relevant responsibilities, timeframes and outcomes would support the principal to make the improvements to the curriculum discussed above. This action plan should include provision to consult the community and develop a health curriculum programme.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The board has been pro-active in establishing a vision for the school’s future and is committed to carrying forward the language, culture and identity of the iwi in their culturally rich environment. Together with the principal, trustees have identified the challenges ahead as the school transitions to a kura-a-iwi. The board acknowledges and ERO agrees that the school is currently not well placed to sustain and improve its performance without some external assistance.

In order to bring about improvements, the board of trustees would benefit from tailored professional development so that they can fulfil their governance roles and obligations and improve the quality of self review. In addition the principal acknowledges that she requires support to develop more effective professional leadership as she leads the school through the transition. She currently participates in a mentoring group with other Māori principals. ERO supports her proposal that this mentoring group participate in her appraisal.

The school’s charter and strategic plan represent a useful framework to guide the school’s development. Trustees have strong Whatatutu links and are representative of the school community. ERO affirms the board’s plans to seek external support aimed at improving teaching, governance and self review in order to build on these strengths for the benefit of tamariki.

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
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

During the course of the review the board identified through its Board Assurance Statement a number of areas in which it does not comply with legislative requirements. These areas include the board's obligation to review its policies and procedures systematically [NAG 5], declare conflicts of interest [S103A Education Act 1989], store school records appropriately [Public Records Act 2005], carry out police vetting for all staff[S78C Education Act 1989] and ensure anti-bullying programmes cover all major types of bullying [NAG 5].

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services Northern Region (Acting)

7 June 2012

About the School


Whatatutu, Gisborne

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 14 Girls 11

Ethnic composition



Special Features

Two Level 1 immersion classes

Review team on site

March 2012

Date of this report

7 June 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Supplementary Review

April 2010

February 2009December 2007