Tokomaru School - 24/04/2014

1 Context

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

Tokomaru School predominantly serves families around the local village, with a quarter of the roll of 57 children travelling by bus from the wider rural community. A third of the roll identify as Māori, Pacific or other ethnic groups.

The school charter places strong emphasis on honesty, responsibility, respect and perseverance. These values identify expectations for key competencies related to positive relationships, self managing of learning, personal development and student wellbeing. Positive and inclusive relationships and interactions among students reflect the school’s ideals. The wide range of facilities, spaces and equipment for physical activity, mirror the school's values.

Active cooperation and interaction between trustees, teachers and the community are evident. Parent and whānau consultation and involvement in learning partnerships, sport, cultural and activities focus on benefits for students. The board is committed to equity of opportunity for all children. A very active home and school group gain considerable support through the wider community for fund raising. As a result, parents are no longer asked for donations for school operations to support the curriculum.

Two new full time staff appointments have been made for 2014. A major teacher professional development focus in 2014 is on writing, teachers inquiring into their use of student assessment information and the impact of their practice on learning outcomes for children.

2 Learning

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

A high percentage of students achieve at or above in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers know their students’ strengths and areas where improvement is required. In 2014, the school’s main goal is to increase overall achievement levels in writing, with emphasis on accelerated progress for a targeted group in Years 6 and 7. Further development of the school's processes for setting, monitoring and reporting on accelerated progress of these priority learners to trustees is a next step.

Māori and Pacific students achieve well against National Standards. Parents are well informed about individual and schoolwide achievement. They are provided with clear explanations that help them understand the content of the reports and overall rates of achievement.

Capable students are given extension work where appropriate. The school’s analysis identifies a need to provide opportunities to extend all students.

3 Curriculum

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

Curriculum documents provide clear guidelines and expectations for teaching, learning and assessment. They are tailored to needs and national requirements and well informed by community aspirations. Students’ learning is enriched by access to a wide range of experiences outside the classroom, in the local community and on excursions. A variety of award and recognition systems are evident at classroom and schoolwide levels. Students value and appreciate the recognition and awards they receive.

Active promotion of leadership opportunities and responsibilities among all students promotes engagement and ownership of their learning. A culture of care and nurturing is evident in interactions amongst students and with staff. Peer mentoring is active. Students know who to go to for help. Close links with nearby centres and schools supports learners’ successful transitions into and beyond the school.

Student achievement data has informed decisions about professional learning and development (PLD). A school goal in 2014 is to further strengthen teacher inquiry into the impact of their teaching practices on student outcomes. PLD for writing is focused on improving teaching to increase rates of progress in writing for groups of learners. A new position has been created to provide literacy leadership for planning, supporting staff and monitoring the impact of initiatives on student achievement.

ERO's findings affirm the principal’s plans to review the effectiveness of current formative assessment tools and practices for promoting learning.

Pacific students are well engaged in learning. Partnerships with their parents are fostered. Pacific cultures are celebrated within the curriculum.

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

Current programmes and practices actively support partnerships with Māori whānau and the community. Parent support is considerable including involvement and guidance in sports, cultural activities and excursions. Māori students have high levels of engagement, their cultural values affirmed and achieve academic success above their peers.

In 2013, the board and staff attended several workshops on Ka Hikitia: Accelerating Success 2013  2017 to increase their understanding of promoting success for Māori. Students and whānau attended a local marae to strengthen links and knowledge about aspects of tikanga Māori and raise awareness of marae protocols and history.

ERO affirms the school’s initiative to develop policy and achievement plans to define and further promote increased opportunities for success for Māori, as Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Trustees are responsive and knowledgeable about strengths and areas for improvement in schoolwide achievement. The principal and board communicate this information with the community in a transparent way and share priorities and strategies for ongoing improvement. They monitor progress through useful reports from the principal.

Trustees are well informed about the school community through good communication and high rates of participation in surveys and consultations. As a result of the health curriculum consultation and parent surveys, the school reviewed and developed the core values and behaviour expectations to promote student wellbeing. The school culture and philosophy are closely aligned with whānau and community expectation and aspirations.

There is an established schedule for self review with flexibility to respond to emerging matters. Trustees are improvement focused and have developed a range of self-review practices. In 2014 the board has engaged an external facilitator to strengthen the depth and quality of review and strategic plans.

Teachers have useful strategies for managing transitions and changes in staffing to maintain a focus on student achievement. The principal should ensure the predominantly new teaching team has consistent, shared understandings of school’s expectations and processes for high quality teaching, assessment and learning.

The appraisal process is undergoing appropriate review and development. The principal's and teachers’ appraisals should be more closely aligned to school strategic goals and those of individuals to improve teaching and learning outcomes. More specific action plans and success criteria are likely to promote better evaluation of outcomes to accelerate progress of priority learners.

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.

In order to improve practice the board should review all policies and practices and ensure any resulting changes in expectations are communicated to teachers and the school community.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.index-html-m2a7690f7.gif

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region (Acting)

24 April 2014

About the School


Tokomaru, Horowhenua

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 31

Girls 26

Ethnic composition


NZ European Pākehā


Other ethnic groups





Review team on site

February 2014

Date of this report

24 April 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2011

October 2007

August 2004