Tokanui School - 21/02/2018

School Context

Tokanui School is a Years 1 to 8 school in Tokanui, Southern Southland. There are 110 children, 23 of whom identify as Māori.

The school’s mission statement is, ‘Empowering children through respect, integrity, community and excellence.’ The school values are:

  • respect – respect yourself, others and the environment

  • integrity – honest, responsible and someone who does the right thing

  • community – being a positive contributor to our school community and wider community

  • excellence – doing the best you can and celebrate achievement in others.

The school aims for children to know and show the Enviroschool principles including:

  • Māori perspectives

  • empowerment

  • learning for sustainability

  • sustainable communities.

Leaders and teachers regularly report school-wide information about outcomes for children to the board in the following areas:

  • reading, writing and mathematics

  • children’s wellbeing.

Since the last ERO review in 2014, there have been a number of staff changes and changes within the board.

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 school is yet to achieve equitable outcomes for different groups of children in literacy and mathematics. The school has identified there is significant disparity for boys in writing. The school has also identified significant disparity for Māori children in reading, writing and mathematics.

Overall student achievement for 2014 to 2016 shows:

  • most children have achieved at or above expectations for reading

  • a slight downward trend in children’s achievement in mathematics and writing.

In 2016, the majority of children were at or above expectations for writing and mathematics.

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

The school has had limited success in accelerating the progress of the students it had targeted to make this progress. A small number of children working below expected levels made accelerated progress.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

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

The school has a strong inclusive culture. Teachers and leaders have an intentional focus on building positive learning relationships for all children and have an improved awareness of Māori culture and identity. Students are well engaged in their learning and show an understanding of their role in the learning process. They show good understanding of the school’s values.

Senior leaders are committed to providing equity of learning for children at risk of underachievement. This commitment is evident in student support programmes and relevant professional learning and development for teachers.

The school’s curriculum design is responsive to the aspirations of students, parents/whānau and the wider community. Parents and whānau are actively encouraged to participate in their child’s learning. The school proactively identifies and draws on community expertise and resources to enhance students’ learning opportunities, achievement and wellbeing.

Trustees have a good understanding of their governance role. They show a commitment to ongoing learning about this. They put children at the centre of their resourcing decisions.

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

To address the disparities in student achievement, school leaders need to improve the effectiveness of processes to lift achievement and associated target setting, action planning, evaluation and reporting.

The school needs to develop targets that specifically focus on those children who are at risk of underachievement. Targets and associated action plans to lift achievement need to be more specific. The board needs to receive more frequent and detailed reports that clearly show the sufficiency of progress for target students (and others as appropriate).

Internal evaluation needs to be extended in order to look more deeply at which teaching practices are most effective in lifting the achievement of targeted and other children. This includes ensuring that reviews are more evaluative. It is timely to extend internal evaluation to include how well the school’s valued outcomes for learning are achieved.

Leaders and teachers need to strengthen te ao Māori as part of children’s learning.

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.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • levels of student engagement and agency in their learning

  • the breadth, depth and richness of the curriculum

  • useful learning partnerships with parents/whānau and the wider community.

Next steps

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

  • urgently addressing in-school disparity in achievement in literacy and mathematics for Māori children, and in writing for boys

  • extending and strengthening understanding of internal evaluation to better evaluate what is working well and what can be improved

  • further integrating te ao Māori into the day-to-day curriculum so that all children experience a rich bicultural curriculum

  • improving school achievement targets and the frequency and quality of reports to the board about the sufficiency of progress targeted children are making.

The school needs to show:

  • targeted planning to accelerate learning [ERO will monitor and discuss progress with the school]

  • effective internal evaluation processes and practices

[ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders].

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

21 February 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls: 47% Boys: 53%

Ethnic composition

Māori: 21% Pākeha: 79%

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

December 2017

Date of this report

21 February 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review: 15 September 2014
Education Review: 22 August 2011