Te Waotu School - 31/03/2014

1 Context

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

Te Waotu School, located 18 km south west of Putaruru, provides education for students from Years 1 to 8. At the time of this ERO review the school roll of 116 included 15 students who identified as Māori. The school continues to operate a Ministry of Education approved enrolment scheme to manage roll growth. In 2011 the school celebrated its 125 years jubilee.

Since the 2009 ERO review the school’s roll has remained constant. Leadership of the school has remained the same and there have been only two changes in the teaching team. Two new trustees were elected at the 2013 board elections. The board has undertaken significant refurbishment of many classrooms. Teachers have undertaken extensive professional learning and development in the areas of literacy and mathematics.

Students and teachers benefit from learning and teaching in spacious, well-presented and resourced learning environments. The 'Waotu Way' defines clear expectations for student behaviour in the school. These are well understood by students and contribute to a culture that supports learning within the school.

Te Waotu School has a very positive ERO reporting history and has responded well to the area for review and development in the previous ERO report about strengthening the reporting of student achievement information.

2 Learning

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

The school makes effective use of student achievement information to support student learning.

School leaders have developed an assessment schedule that provides a detailed framework for teachers to collect an appropriate range of achievement information, especially in literacy and mathematics. They analyse school-wide achievement information to report to the board of trustees and wider community. This information is also used to identify priorities for teacher professional development and performance management processes.

The board of trustees is well informed about student achievement and progress, and makes good use of this information to inform decision making and resource allocation. Trustees set appropriate targets in the school charter focussed on raising achievement levels, including those who are 'at risk' of not reaching expected levels.

Teachers make effective use of achievement information to group students for instruction and to plan to meet their different learning needs. They provide parents with comprehensive information about their children’s achievement and progress, including information in relation to the National Standards. Written reports include useful information about how parents can support their children’s learning at home.

Student achievement information from 2013 shows that achievement levels in writing and mathematics are above national comparisons, while reading levels were similar. Maori students achieved at similar levels to their non-Māori peers at the school in mathematics, and slightly lower in reading and writing. The school is continuing to develop processes to support teachers to make robust judgements in relation to National Standards.

The school makes a sustained and conscious effort to recognise and celebrate student success in all areas of endeavour, both within and beyond the school.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning.

A particular strength of the school is the shared commitment to the school’s values and the 'Waotu Way' that support children’s sense of identity, pride and wellbeing.

Important features of the school’s curriculum are the:

  • use of learning contexts that are real and meaningful for students
  • high priority given to teaching and learning of literacy and mathematics
  • integration of local history and landmarks
  • active contribution of parents and members of the wider community to enhance learning opportunities for students
  • long standing participation in the enviro-schools programme, including gaining green-gold status in 2013.

Teachers have developed affirming and respectful relationships with students that contribute to settled and engaged learning environments. They use a variety of appropriate teaching strategies that promote positive learning outcomes for students.

A recent school-wide initiative has been to build teacher’s professional practice through regular reflection and critical discussion with their colleagues about key aspects of their teaching. This initiative could be further enhanced by linking these discussions to the achievement and progress of students who are 'at risk' of not reaching expected levels as identified in the school targets.

Students have benefited from increased access to portable computer devices to support their classroom learning.

Teachers and school leaders are continuing to investigate how to make the most effective use of these resources to improve learning outcomes. There are an extensive range of opportunities for students to experience success in sporting, cultural, academic, leadership and traditional rural events and activities.

ERO and school leaders agree that the curriculum could be enhanced by developing:

  • an agreed understanding of teaching strategies that empower students to take greater responsibility for their learning
  • shared expectations for teaching and learning in each curriculum area.

This development is necessary to guide the work of teachers and bring about greater school-wide consistency.

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

Māori students’ identity and sense of belonging is enhanced through:

  • the productive partnerships that are being established with whānau and local hapu
  • opportunities to participate in school-wide kapa haka and traditional Māori games
  • full school visits to local marae
  • valuing local Māori history in learning programmes
  • participation in programmes to enhance the local environment including propagating and planting trees at Pikitu marae.

ERO and the principal agree that priority should be given to:

  • developing and implementing a school-wide, sequential te reo Māori programme
  • further incorporating school protocols that reflect Māori perspectives.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Te Waotu School is well placed to sustain and improve its performance because:

  • the board is supportive of the principal and teaching team, and is providing effective governance for the school
  • the experienced and knowledgeable principal has a reflective approach to leadership and is focussed on school improvement
  • there are high levels of community support for the school
  • teachers work collegially and are committed to ongoing professional learning and development
  • self-review processes are well established and contribute to school improvement.

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 March 2014

About the School


South west of Putaruru

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 54%

Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā






Review team on site

March 2014

Date of this report

31 March 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

November 2009

August 2006