Umawera School - 27/06/2018

School Context

Umawera School is a small, rural, contributing primary school (Year 1-6), with a roll of 36 students. Approximately half of the children enrolled are Māori. While the school roll is the same as in 2015, transience levels are increasing.

The school’s strategic focus is on improvement in literacy and mathematics, the implementation of digital technologies, and community involvement and participation.

Consultation with the school community has guided the school mission/vision statement: ‘To inspire all learners to have integrity, beliefs and obtain knowledge so that they will strive to achieve in life’. The vision is underpinned by values of Beliefs (Mana), Knowledge (Matauranga) and Integrity (Manaakitanga). The school’s valued outcomes are reflected in a student graduate profile. This is yet to be unpacked with students and embedded in the school’s learning culture.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • reading recovery programmes

  • interventions supported by the Resource Teacher of Learning and Behaviour (RTLB).

Since ERO’s 2015 report there has been continuity of leadership. The board of trustees consists of experienced and newly appointed members.

Staff have participated in Ministry of Education (MoE) professional learning and development (PLD) in Accelerating Learning in Mathematics (ALiM) and Accelerating Learning in Literacy (ALL). There is currently a PLD focus on digital technology.

The school is a member of the Te Arahura Kahui Ako|Community of Learning (CoL).

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?

School data over the last three years show that the school has sustained and slightly improved the levels of student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. Most students achieve at expected curriculum levels across these three learning areas.

School data shows some disparity between the achievement of boys and girls, with girls achieving at higher levels in literacy and mathematics. There is also disparity for Māori students in literacy and mathematics, although this gap is slowly closing.

Learners achieve well in relation to the school’s broader valued outcomes. Students are:

  • confident and articulate

  • cooperative, collaborative and positive

  • polite, respectful, caring and honest.

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

The school is working towards parity for Māori and other students whose learning and achievement needs acceleration.

Teachers implemented a successful intervention for a group of Year 3 and 4 students to accelerate their learning in mathematics. Significant shifts were achieved by most students, including Māori. This intervention also increased children’s self confidence as learners. As a result, teachers are improving the way they support learning in mathematics for all students across the school.

A range of literacy programmes has successfully accelerated achievement in reading for some groups of students. This has involved the RTLB and teachers using specific strategies gained from literacy PLD. Reading Recovery interventions are also successfully accelerating learning and achievement for some students in reading. This programme is also engaging parents in successful learning partnerships.

Data presented to the board, inclusive of all students over a two year period, highlights many examples of students’ accelerated progress.

A clearer line of sight on improving achievement parity for boys and Māori students would help teachers prioritise specific strategies and approaches that increase student engagement and success in literacy and mathematics. The board and school leaders need to set specific targets, deliberately plan for, and monitor the outcomes for these learners to ensure they achieve parity.

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?

Teachers continue to develop a more coherent curriculum focused on the breadth of learning areas of the New Zealand Curriculum. The recently developed inquiry model and a range of other initiatives and events are part of continuing to develop a more responsive school curriculum.

Bicultural practices are embedded and integrated into the life of the school. Tikanga Māori is part of daily school operations and students can connect with and make sense of kawa. Students can identify as Māori and Pākehā and engage in bicultural practices through the school’s inclusive community.

The school has strong connections and relationships with parents, whānau and the community. These increase learning opportunities and contribute to enhancing student achievement. Parents and whānau are respected and valued partners in their children’s learning. They are kept well informed through the Mutukaroa initiative. This brings parents into the school, and supports them to help their children’s learning at home. Parents are consulted and their opinions are valued.

Teachers participate in relevant professional learning and development. They use effective teaching practices to promote students’ active involvement in their learning. Teachers provide suitable tools and resources to scaffold children’s learning. Students are engaged in their learning and their achievements are celebrated.

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

Leaders could further extend the school pedagogy to promote student agency. Curriculum design needs to:

  • be more responsive to individuals’ interests, needs and talents

  • give students “choice and voice” in learning.

Through this approach teachers could better promote the school vision by facilitating students to lead their own learning and further build student agency skills.

The school could develop more effective use of data to support the learning and progress of students whose learning needs acceleration. Setting specific targets focused on reducing disparity of achievement for Māori students and boys will help teachers develop effective strategies and practices that make a difference for these students.

Internal evaluation should be better used across all aspects of school operations. Internal evaluation needs to include deeper reflection from teachers. This should help them to gauge the effectiveness of their teaching practice on student outcomes. Evaluation should have an explicit focus on where practices are modified or changed to overcome barriers to achieving equity and excellence for all learners.

The board could also focus on more rigorous evaluation of how well its stewardship processes and systems are contributing to bringing about parity for all learners.

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:

  • consultative approaches with the school community that build strong partnerships

  • local curriculum initiatives that are relevant to students and whanau

  • ongoing professional learning and development that focuses on accelerating students’ progress and lifting their achievement.

Next steps

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

  • more focused strategies for supporting those students whose learning needs acceleration

  • further developing student agency

  • further developing robust internal evaluation across the school.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

27 June 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 22 Girls 14

Ethnic composition

Māori 20
Pākehā 16

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

May 2018

Date of this report

27 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2015
Education Review August 2012
Education Review June 2009