Tinopai School - 19/11/2015

1. Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Tinopai School is a small sole-charge rural school on the shores of the Kaipara Harbour. It provides education for students from Years 1 to 8. The local iwi is Ngati Whātua, and many of the school’s current 20 students affiliate with the local hapu, Te Uri o Hau. The school roll increased from 15 in 2013 to 25 during 2014.

The 2013 Education Review of Tinopai School was conducted one week after the current principal took up the position. Between 2009 and 2013 the school had seven principals. A teacher who provides principal’s release has provided continuity for students over this time.

The current principal was a first time principal at the time of her appointment. She has taken part in the first time principals’ programme and continues to benefit from being mentored by an experienced principal. Recently, the Ministry of Education has provided a rural advisor to support the principal to make ongoing improvements at the school.

Since the 2013 Education Review, there have been changes to the school’s governing body. The board chairperson who was appointed in 2012 resigned and a new board chair was appointed in 2015. Two parent trustees have joined the board and are learning their governance role.

In 2014 and 2015 the school underwent refurbishment that disrupted the day-to-day running of the school. Access to the internet has been improved. A new teacher aide was employed in 2014.

2. Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

The 2013 ERO report identified many matters related to governance and management that required improvement.

These priority areas included:

  • improving systems to gather, analyse and evaluate student achievement information to ensure that it is valid and reliable
  • engaging students in their learning and establishing clear goals and ways for students to achieve their goals
  • developing and delivering a high quality curriculum that is relevant to students and supports their progress
  • strengthening the school’s partnership with parents
  • strengthening processes for managing and supporting staff
  • strengthening school evaluation and strategic planning.


Some progress is being made in the areas for review and development identified in the ERO 2013 report.

Partnerships with parents/whānau are being strengthened. Members of the community continue to volunteer at the school and listen to students read, and a group of parents is providing support to help with school events. A Ministry of Education programme is being introduced to guide parents/whānau to provide effective support for their children's reading.

The board has increased the number of parent representatives and is supportive of the staff. Governance training is planned with the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA). The board has begun reviewing school policies. The principal is working with the board to plan strategically and to evaluate progress towards meeting the school’s strategic goals.

The principal has developed better systems to gather achievement information. This information will support teachers to make judgements about how well students are achieving in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers are working with staff from other schools to ensure that assessments are valid and reliable.

The principal has strengthened performance management systems and is taking opportunities to learn about management skills and how to improve teaching and learning. Current professional development is focused on supporting students to make accelerated progress in mathematics.

Key next steps

ERO and the Board of Trustees agree that the school should now focus on:

  • continuing to develop a curriculum that supports students to be successful lifelong learners and that meets the educational needs of the school’s diverse learners
  • developing further strategies, including formative teaching practices, that motivate students to take greater ownership of their learning and behaviour and promote students’ thinking and inquiry
  • using self review to monitor and guide school operations.

3. Sustainable performance and self review

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

Further progress is required to ensure that the school can improve and sustain its performance. With a stable staff and more parent trustees working collaboratively with the principal, the school is in a better position to continue to improve. It is important that the school’s improvement focus continues.

Planned trustee training is likely to build the board’s capacity to govern the school. On-going support for the principal is also important to help strengthen teaching and 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.


Recommendations, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support.

ERO recommends NZSTA support for the board to understand their governance role. In addition, it is recommended that the Ministry of Education continue to support the development of teaching and learning at Tinopai School.


Tinopai School is benefitting from stable staffing and a committed Board of Trustees. Progress is being made to address the areas requiring improvement. Support from outside agencies is now available to assist the school to strengthen its governance and management capacity and to help staff provide a relevant curriculum.

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

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

About the School


Tinopai, Matakohe

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys      12
Girls         8

Ethnic composition



Review team on site

August 2015

Date of this report

19 November 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Supplementary Review

June 2013
January 2009
February 2006