Te Kura o Hato Hohepa Te Kamura - 22/02/2018

School Context

Te Kura o Hato Hohepa Te Kamura is a small Catholic primary school located in Waitaruke, Northland. It caters for students from Years 1 to 8. The roll has increased to 30 students since ERO’s 2014 report. The children are Māori and mainly of Ngāti Kahu or Ngāpuhi descent.

The school’s vision and mission are shaped by the Catholic character and Marist values of aroha, manaaki and kindness. In consultation with iwi and whānau of the Waitaruke community, the principal and teachers promote the fundamental principles of Te Tapu o te Atua, Te Tapu o te Tangata, Te Tapu o te Whenua and Te Tapu o te Kaitiakitanga in students’ learning. These principles underpin students’ view of their learning and their world.

Since the ERO review in 2014, one classroom has become Te Rumaki Reo for Year 0 to 8 students, and has te reo Māori as the main language medium for teaching and learning. The second room is Te Puna Tautoko which has bilingual learning in both te reo and English for students in Years 0 to 8.

The school’s principal regularly reports to the board of trustees about the outcomes for all students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics against the expected standard, in both Māori and English medium
  • progress and achievement in relation to the school’s charter targets
  • outcomes in relation to attendance and student engagement.

Staff are participating in professional development related to the use of digital technologies to enhance learning and in an initiative to strengthen science in the school’s curriculum. In addition, the school is involved in a Ministry of Education programme that fosters a positive school culture through values-based learning.

Since the 2014 ERO review there have been considerable changes in school personnel. A new principal has worked in the school from 2015 to the end of 2017, alongside two new teachers. There is a new board chairperson and a Bishop’s representative.

The school has very recently become a part of the Whaingaroa Kāhui Ako (Community of Learning).

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The majority of children achieve equitable outcomes in relation to expected standards in reading.

While some students have made progress in writing and mathematics, others remain below or well below expectations.

Over the last two years teachers have begun to track and monitor assessment information about reading, writing and mathematics (for both English and Māori medium learning). Close monitoring and personalised interventions from teachers have resulted in positive learning outcomes for some children. However, more accelerated progress is necessary for the majority of learners.

Students achieve well in relation to other valued school outcomes. Most students, including students with special learning needs:

  • are growing in their understanding of Christianity
  • are learning within the context of te ao Māori in their own rohe
  • are experiencing positive outcomes relating to Māori identity, language and culture
  • relate well to others, and are becoming more self-managing
  • are beginning to connect digitally through local and global learning experiences.

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

A more specific focus on acceleration requirements for identified learners is necessary. Teachers have responded, to some extent, to those students whose learning and achievement needs improvement. However, they need to use more targeted acceleration strategies and approaches to improve student progress in both writing and mathematics.

For the past three years, the majority of children have not achieved expected standards in writing. A small positive shift in achievement at the end of 2017 showed children making expected progress rather than having their progress accelerated.

In order to further explore the school’s acceleration challenges, the principal and teachers should continue with ‘teaching as inquiry’, and targeted action planning for each student who needs to make accelerated progress.

The next steps to help teachers accelerate children’s progress are to:

  • refine charter targets to focus on the group(s) requiring acceleration
  • identify the specific learning needs of each individual student who requires acceleration
  • create targeted action plans for groups and individuals who need acceleration
  • monitor targeted action plans regularly through each term to track children’s progress and acceleration
  • create data sets to show the extent and rate of acceleration for the target cohort.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

There is increasing evidence that powerful connections with whānau are enabling most children to strengthen and consolidate their learning at home. This improvement has come about since the current principal made this one of the school’s strategic goals in 2015. Whānau are welcomed and included in the school’s learning culture at every opportunity.

Many children are entering the school from a local kohanga reo. This has fostered and promoted the significance of whānau in early learning and the acquisition of te reo from a young age.

The school’s curriculum is very responsive to children’s language, culture and identity. All children are experiencing authentic learning in relation to their Ngāti Kahu and Ngāpuhi heritage within the local area. Opportunities are plentiful for children to learn through the local natural bush environment. Other learning areas are integrated into this curriculum focus, particularly literacy and mathematics.

The principal’s leadership has created learning conditions where the school’s positive social climate has become more defined and meaningful. This has supported a focus on equity and excellence in the school’s development. A clearly structured student management system is helping to build and consolidate children’s wellbeing for learning.

The board of trustees is highly focused on meeting and addressing challenges in the school to achieve equitable and excellent outcomes for learners. Trustees have relevant professional expertise and the stewardship skills needed to seek out and recruit new staff. They now need to create, with their community, a more focused strategic plan to benefit all future learners.

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

Currently, teacher capacity and capability is being challenged by the inclusion of Years 1 to 8 in each of the composite classes, Te Rumaki Reo and Te Puna Tautoko.

The board of trustees and principal should urgently consider whether the school’s current classroom organisation is working to promote equity and excellence and the best interests of children. The board has identified that this matter will be an issue for discussion when recruiting the next principal.

The school’s curriculum requires substantial review and development. A decision needs to be made on whether the school’s curriculum is to be based on the New Zealand Curriculum or Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, or both. The curriculum learning areas in each case need more depth and breadth of coverage to ensure children are learning from a full and rich curriculum. This is essential to support children’s successful transitioning to secondary school.

The principal and teachers should collaboratively develop and improve the school’s assessment practices. In particular they should increase the extent to which the information they collate gives them a picture of shifts in student progress towards acceleration. Such a picture would assist them to better focus their teaching approaches and interventions on making a difference for targeted children within shorter timeframes.

Teachers could:

  • trial and share professional practice that makes a difference for each student
  • access more external professional learning to extend their skills and knowledge about teaching writing and mathematics.

Responsibility for achieving accelerated progress for learners should be shared by the board, principal and teachers.

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. 

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • ensure internal evaluation processes are robust and systematic across all school operations, particularly with regard to health and safety policies, procedures and guidelines, and that policies are in alignment with the new Health and Safety Regulations and the Vulnerable Children Act 2014
  • ensure there is consultation, every two years, with the parent community about the school’s health programme. 

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • powerful connections with whānau and the school’s wider community
  • a curriculum that is culturally responsive to te reo Māori, tikanga and identity
  • a more sustainable school learning culture based on positive student outcomes
  • stewardship skills in the board of trustees.

Next steps

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

  • achieving better educational outcomes for children
  • targeted planning for children whose progress requires acceleration
  • curriculum leadership and review
  • strategic stewardship by the board to set a clear direction for future school organisation
  • building and strengthening internal evaluation processes and practices.

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

  • overall student achievement in literacy and mathematics
  • curriculum development. 

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

ERO is likely to carry out the next external evaluation in one to two years.

Julie Foley
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

22 February 2018

About the school 


Waitaruke, Kaeo

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full primary

School roll


Gender composition

Girls       16
Boys      14

Ethnic composition


Provision of Māori medium education


Number of Māori medium classes


Total number of students in Māori medium (MME)


Total number of students in Māori language in English medium (MLE)


Number of students in Level 1 MME


Number of students in Level 2 MME


Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

22 February 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Supplementary Review

 September 2014
 December 2011
 August 2008