Tongariro School - 28/05/2014

1 Background and Context

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

Tongariro School, located in Turangi, provides education for students in Years 1 to 14. There is a roll of 454 students, of whom 382 identify as Māori and most whakapapa to te iwi ō Tūwharetoa.

The ERO review of January 2012 identified key areas that needed to be improved. These were in relation to leadership, curriculum design, school-wide communication, quality assurance, and aspects of self review to raise levels of student achievement. This final follow up visit in March 2014 was to ascertain the extent to which the next steps identified in the report are being implemented.

Since that time there have been several significant developments at the school, including the appointment of a new principal, who took up his position in October 2013. At the 2013 board of trustees’ election four new trustees were elected and a new chairperson was appointed.

The new board and principal acknowledged the school’s considerable historical financial difficulty, and have accessed external support from the Ministry of Education. They have developed and are implementing a robust plan to address this issue. At the end of 2013 the board co-opted a new trustee with governance and financial management experience.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

To support the school’s commitment to raising levels of student achievement, the following priorities were identified in the 2012 report:

  • develop and implement a school-wide curriculum that aligns to the intent of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC)
  • strengthen the management and use of student achievement information
  • raising the consistency of high-quality teaching practice
  • review and develop school leadership structures
  • strengthen quality assurance and self-review practices
  • review approaches to school-wide communication.


At the time of ERO’s final verification, evaluation visit in March 2014, school leaders and trustees had made a good beginning to addressing the areas for review and development identified in the 2012 ERO report. Initial change processes were put in place by the then principal, senior leaders and trustees to address these priorities. However progress made in addressing these priorities was slow. This lack of progress is also evidenced by the absence of the required direction to implement effective change. From term four 2013, the new principal, existing senior leaders and board of trustees have brought an important focus on improving school infrastructure, engaging school-wide ownership of management, and implementation of the changes required.

Currently, a significant focus for teachers and curriculum leaders is the completion of a school-wide curriculum document and guidelines that includes teacher and graduate profiles, incorporates the local vision and values, and is linked to NZC.

Teachers have worked hard to identify and incorporate authentic learning contexts, which include community links and experiences. This approach by teachers is motivating and engaging students in relevant and meaningful learning programmes increasingly planned to meet their vocational pathways.

The school has effectively strengthened processes to manage and use student achievement information across all year levels. These processes include:

  • a charter that identifies specific targets for raising student achievement Years 1 to 14
  • improving the collection, collation and interpretation of assessment information so that it can be used more effectively in classroom planning and monitoring individual student progress. This information is starting to be used to identify trends and patterns of student progress and achievement
  • the reporting of useful student achievement to parents and community, in relation to National Standards
  • the implementation of a Diploma for students in Years 9 and 10, which acknowledges achievement, self management and success for these students.

As a result, teachers have clearer expectations, increased responsibility and a better understanding about the effective use of achievement information to enhance learning and teaching. ERO observed examples where teachers were implementing targeted and interactive learning strategies that supported and encouraged students to take a more active role in their learning.

During the past two years, school leadership, self-review and quality assurance systems have been in a constant state of change. At the time of ERO’s visit in 2014, clarity and stability is being brought to leadership roles and responsibilities, systems and practices for self review and quality assurance. This stability and clarity is particularly evident in the appraisal of teachers and the principal, policy review, financial management and leadership structures. A stronger foundation for strategic decision making and expectations for ongoing school development is evident.

Trustees, the principal and senior leaders have more recently worked collegially to improve all aspects of internal and external communication practices. Discussions and decisions are increasingly focussed on better outcomes for students. More open, positive and informative relationships are developing among students, adults, parents and community. While these relationships are stronger there is potential for the school to develop closer partnerships with parents, whanau and the wider Turangi community.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school’s infrastructure and operations are now in a position to develop stronger self-review practices and processes in order to improve performance. It is essential that the school continues to place priority on these changes and that they are fully embedded.

ERO and the board agree that continued focus will be given to:

  • refining curriculum guidelines and expectations for student learning
  • implementing strategies to strengthen the consistency of effective teaching practices across the school
  • further clarifying roles of senior leaders
  • developing moderating processes to support teachers to make robust judgements in relation to National Standards
  • strengthening the board’s communication and partnership with families, whānau and the community.

Once these strategies and practices are well established, the school will be in a stronger position to sustain and continue to improve its performance. As a result, ERO intends to continue to work with the school and other agencies to assist in realising these changes over the next one-two years.

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

28 May 2014

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Composite (Years 1 to 14)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā





Review team on site

March 2014

Date of this report

28 May 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review 

January 2012

March 2009