Tuakau School - 14/06/2019

School Context

Tuakau School is located approximately 10 kilometres from Pukekohe. The school caters for students from Years 1 to 6. The ethnically diverse roll of 240 students includes 58% Māori, 23% Pākehā and 12% from Pacific nations. The school has a Whare Manaaki for those students who choose to learn in a bilingual environment.

Since the previous ERO report in 2015 the school has opened a new collaborative learning space for Years 4 to 6 and implemented a learning through play philosophy in the New Entrant and Year 1 area. There has been considerable roll growth, however there continues to be a significant level of transience. A new principal started in 2019 and there have been several changes to the leadership and teaching team.

The school’s mission is, ‘Kia ako tahi tātou, kia tipu tahi tātou, kia puāwai tahi tātou,’ together we learn, grow and succeed.

The vision states, ‘We acknowledge, value and foster the unique abilities and attributes of our school community and challenge our students to achieve personal standards of excellence through a balanced education programme, within a safe and caring environment.’

Respect, integrity and responsibility for self, for others and for the environment, manaakitanga, tiakitanga and whanaungatanga are the core values.

The strategic aims are to:

  • accelerate the achievement of all learners
  • prepare students to be active, engaged, consciously critical members of an ever changing world
  • create educationally powerful partnerships with parents, family and whānau to encourage engagement in learning.

The teaching and leadership team have been involved in professional learning and development in mathematics, te reo Māori, the digital technology curriculum and learning through play.

The school is a member of Te Puaaha o Waikato Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako (CoL).

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board school-wide information about outcomes for students in reading, writing and mathematics.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is working towards achieving equitable outcomes for all students. Overall achievement information in 2018 shows that a large majority of all students, including Māori and Pacific are achieving at or above expected curriculum levels in reading, writing and mathematics.

Achievement over time (2016-2018) shows significant improvement for all students in reading, writing and mathematics. However, the school is yet to address the disparity of achievement for Māori, Pacific and boys.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school is accelerating the progress of some Māori and other students who need this. Achievement information for 2017-18 shows acceleration for nearly one third of students achieving below curriculum expectations in reading and mathematics and about one fifth in writing.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

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

The school culture effectively supports student learning and wellbeing. Students learn in a respectful, caring and collaborative school environment. Their language, culture and identity are valued and reflected in the school. Leaders effectively build high levels of trust with whānau and the community. They seek family and whānau feedback and incorporate their contributions into the vision for the school. Social expectations to support teaching and learning are modelled by leaders and staff. The approachability of staff is valued by the community and active community relationships are evident.

Children benefit from a broad curriculum. Opportunities for students to grow their leadership skills are promoted. Some students can identify their own learning goals and use self-management skills to achieve them. Learning through play in the junior school builds on the interests of students and provides an integrated learning experience. The use of digital devices is evident to support the learning in well-resourced classrooms. Classroom teachers know students and their families well.

There is a clearly defined vision and a range of specific objectives for Whare Manaaki (bilingual classes) to support student learning. These relate to te reo Māori, Tainui tikanga, the values of aroha and manaaki along with whānau engagement. Students in these classes learn in a settled and focused environment where their needs are catered for and well understood.

Teacher learning and development is supported by both internal and external expertise to build capability.

Parents and whānau of children whose learning is at risk feel well supported by the school. There are wide-ranging resources both in school and in the community which support and enhance student learning, achievement and wellbeing.

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

The new leadership team should give priority to:

  • developing and embedding shared expectations for high-quality teaching and learning to build consistency of practice school wide
  • strengthening appraisal to give regular feedback to teachers
  • reviewing and strengthening assessment and moderation practices to ensure the ongoing reliability and validity of achievement information
  • developing school-wide systems for effective tracking and monitoring of achievement and acceleration which should support effective data analysis and the evaluation of initiatives and interventions
  • continuing to develop effective systems and processes to support the learning and achievement of students with identified needs
  • reporting on the progress and achievement of students learning in the Whare Manaaki.

The board of trustees should give priority to:

  • the review of current target setting to more specifically focus on those students whose learning requires acceleration.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Tuakau School’sperformance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • positive relationships in the school community that promote learning and wellbeing
  • a school culture that is supportive and inclusive of all.

Next steps

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

  • developing guidelines to support school-wide consistency in teaching and learning

  • reviewing assessment and moderation practices to ensure ongoing reliability of achievement information

  • building school-wide systems to gather and analyse data to enable the evaluation of what is working and what is not

  • developing and embedding systems and processes to support children with additional needs

  • developing specific targets for those students whose learning needs acceleration to raise achievement.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • monitor and analyse trends and patterns in attendance

  • extend processes and procedures for education outside the classroom to include all excursions, including local visits and activities. 
    [Health and Safety at Work Act 2015]

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

14 June 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 55% Female 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori 58%
NZ European/Pākehā 23%
Other 19%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Number of Māori medium classes


Number of students in Level 2 MME


Review team on site

April 2019

Date of this report

14 June 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review December 2015
Education Review December 2012
Education Review November 2009