Te Pahu School - 26/08/2019

School Context

Te Pahu School is situated near the base of Mount Pirongia, in the rural location of Te Pahu, 30 kilometres west of Hamilton. The school caters for children in Years 1 to 8. The current roll of 116 students includes eight who identify as Māori. Since the previous ERO review in 2016 the school has undergone a number of staffing changes including the appointment of a new principal in Term 1, 2019 and a new deputy principal in Term 2 of the same year.

The school’s vision is, ‘Attitude determines Altitude’, which links to nearby Mount Pirongia. The school states ‘Te Pahu students will be characterised by excellence in their attitudes and actions.’ The school’s values are integrity, respect, responsibility and empathy.

The school’s strategic areas of focus include:

  • teaching and learning

  • environmental practices

  • e-learning

  • te ao Māori.

The 2019 annual plan goals are to grow teaching practices in literacy and numeracy so that students meet curriculum expectations for reading, writing and mathematics.

The teaching and leadership team has been involved in professional learning and development in writing, inquiry learning, teaching as inquiry, te reo and tikanga Māori and wellbeing.

The school is a member of the ‘Rural and Roses’ cluster of schools.

Leaders and teachers gather and report to the board school-wide information about outcomes for students in reading, writing and mathematics.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

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

The school has achieved equitable outcomes for Māori students. However, there is continuing gender disparity with girls outperforming boys in reading, writing and mathematics.

2018 achievement information provided by the school shows that most students achieve at or above their curriculum level in reading and mathematics with a large majority achieving in writing. Data over time shows there has been a small decline in overall student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics.

Students with additional needs are making progress against their individual learning goals.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school is accelerating the learning of some Māori students and others who need it. From 2017 – 2018 almost one third of these students made accelerated progress in writing, and approximately one fifth in reading and mathematics. This data also shows that accelerated progress was made for just over half of the Māori students at-risk in reading and writing.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

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

The collaborative leadership team is effectively building an environment focused on student achievement. This newly formed team is working cohesively to provide clear direction for the school. The principal, together with senior leaders, is establishing a culture where professional learning and development is highly valued. Leaders are implementing useful internal evaluation processes which are contributing to a more responsive approach to the identification and provision for students with additional needs.

Students benefit from a rich and responsive curriculum. Inquiry-based themes provide relevant and authentic contexts for learning. The inclusion of local history is providing a meaningful context for tikanga and te reo Māori which is increasingly present in the daily life of the school. Parents contribute to and enrich the wider school curriculum.

The school culture supports students’ learning and wellbeing. Students learn in a respectful and a caring school environment and have a strong sense of ownership and pride in their school. A wide range of opportunities are provided for students to develop leadership skills. There are well resourced classroom and playground environments. There is a supportive and inclusive learning environment for students with diverse learning and social needs. Teachers know each learner well and use this knowledge to enhance their learning.

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

Leaders and trustees should implement a more targeted approach to accelerating the achievement of it’s at-risk students. Currently reports to the board provide useful information on school wide achievement. Regular, analysed data on the progress of students who are at-risk will provide useful information for next steps. Trustees should consider setting targets on the number of these at-risk learners.

Continuing to strengthen teacher capability is a priority for leaders. The school has developed agreed expectations for teaching and learning practices and have accessed appropriate professional development for teachers. ERO observed examples of effective teaching practices, including provision of regular feedback and feed forward to students and strategies that build students’ understandings of their learning and next steps. However, these are not yet consistently embedded across the school.

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 Children Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Te Pahu School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • collaborative leadership that is focused on school improvement
  • a curriculum that effectively enables high levels of student engagement in learning
  • an inclusive school culture that supports a strong sense of belonging.

Next steps

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

  • continue to strengthen and analysis of achievement information to inform decision making, particularly for students who are at-risk
  • a strategic approach to building teacher capability with an emphasis on the principle of learning to learn
  • practices that ensure the implementation of school-wide teaching and learning expectations.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • ensure a statement is included in the annual report on the extent of the board’s reporting on the extent of its compliance with the personnel policy on being a good employer.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

26 August 2019

About the school


Te Pahu

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 56% Male 44%

Ethnic composition

Māori 7%
NZ European/Pākehā 89%
Other 4%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

June 2019

Date of this report

26 August 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2016
Education Review February 2013