Tirohia School - 03/12/2013

1 Background and Context

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

Tirohia School is a rural primary school situated near Paeroa. It caters for students from Years 1 to 8. At the time of the review it had a roll of 56 students, of whom 21 identify as Māori.

The ERO report in August 2012 identified a number of areas requiring further development. It was therefore decided that ERO would continue to review the school over the next two years. Since the 2012 review, the principal and staff have worked consistently to address the areas identified for development. Teachers have engaged in professional development from external providers. Staff also work with schools in the local cluster. They are beginning training about using technology as an effective tool to support students’ learning.

The current principal started at the beginning of the 2012 year. Membership of the board of trustees has remained fairly constant, with one new member being elected. Staffing has remained stable, but has decreased by one teacher. In 2012 the administration area was upgraded to significantly enhance the school environment.

An inclusive culture for learning clearly reflects the school’s values. Students are friendly and mix easily across different age groups. Teachers have established strong partnerships with parents and the wider community. A family-like atmosphere is promoted and evident.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

Areas identified for improvement in the August 2012 ERO report were:

  • the school’s curriculum
  • curriculum achievement and assessment
  • appraisal and professional development
  • success for Māori, as Māori
  • self review.


Significant progress has been made in these areas:

The school’s curriculum: The principal and staff have begun to develop the school’s local response to The New Zealand Curriculum. Key competencies are now well integrated into classroom programmes and there are clear guidelines for teaching and learning in English and mathematics. Next steps are to develop and document school-wide expectations for all learning areas that include local contexts and provide guidance for coverage and progression through the school.

Assessment practices: The principal and staff have introduced assessment and reporting processes that meet National Standards requirements. Analysis and reporting of achievement information is now more reliable and informs teachers’ and the board’s planning more effectively. Agreed next steps are to further develop learning progressions that will inform overall teacher judgements about student progress and achievement. These should also form a basis for strengthening teachers’ feedback and feed forward to students and support students’ management of their own learning.

Appraisal and professional development: The principal’s appraisal is carried out by an external consultant and includes affirmation about her performance in relation to professional standards and her personal goals. There is a need to also include constructive feedback that can be used to inform ongoing personal development. The staff appraisal process has been developed to include opportunities for reflection and observations of teaching practice, with helpful feedback which is used as a basis for goal setting. The next step is to link appraisal to the achievement of students who are at risk of not achieving their year level standards.

Success for Māori, as Māori: The principal and staff are continuing to develop shared understandings about Māori success. The 2012 National Standards information indicates that Māori students are achieving at the same levels as non-Māori students, with the majority at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Since the 2012 ERO review the board has linked with the local Māori trust board, with a focus on further engaging Māori families as partners in their children’s learning. Teachers have begun a systematic Māori language course. Next steps are to increase the integration of Māori language and culture within school protocols and within classroom programmes.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is now well placed to sustain and continue to improve its performance. The principal and teachers are improvement focussed and committed to addressing priority areas. The board is now well informed about student achievement and the strategic plan gives the school a clear direction for ongoing improvement.

Next Steps

The board and ERO agree that next steps are to:

  • develop systems and processes for school-wide self review
  • include the areas identified for development in this review in future strategic and annual planning
  • strengthen the board’s shared understanding of governance roles and responsibilities.

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.

4 Recommendations

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

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education provides training for the board to strengthen their understanding of governance roles and effective self review.

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

3 December 2013

About the School


near Paeroa

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 32

Boys 24

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā




Review team on site

September 2013

Date of this report

3 December 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2012

June 2009

August 2006