Urenui School - 14/02/2017

1 Context

Urenui School is situated in North Taranaki and caters for 52 Year 1 to 6 students in three classes. Māori students make up 35% of the roll.

Most of the trustees, including the chair, are new to their roles. The board has funded additional staffing to reduce class sizes and respond to steady roll growth over the past two years.

The school belongs to the North Taranaki Cluster group of four rural schools who meet regularly for students' sporting, cultural and learning activities and staff interactions.

Teachers have participated in Ministry of Education funded professional learning and development (PLD) programmes to promote accelerated learning in mathematics (ALiM) in 2015 and 2016. Staff have also participated in other PLD to improve eLearning and literacy teaching practices.

The May 2014 ERO report, identified further development was needed to streamline assessment processes, strengthen moderation of teacher assessment judgements and to continue to build relationships with the community.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to develop them into curious, motivated learners who will succeed in whatever they strive to do.

The school promotes the URENUI values of uniqueness, respect, empowerment, nurturing, understanding and involvement.

The school’s achievement information shows that since the 2014 ERO review, student achievement has improved significantly. School data in 2015, showed that most students achieved at or above in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.Māori achievement has improved significantly,with increased levels of success in reading, mathematics and writing in 2015. As the roll increases,sustaining this improvement for Māori students and addressing ongoing disparity in achievement for Māori and boys is a focus for the school.

The school has a focus on improving teachers' understanding of assessment practices to make robust judgements in relation to National Standards. This process is supported through increased use of relevant tools, professional discussion and oversight by the principal. Next steps are to develop a systematic approach to moderating judgements within and beyond the school.

Since the previous ERO evaluation, the school has focused on strategies and resources aimed to improve learner outcomes and accelerate progress for those at risk of poor educational outcomes. 

These initiatives include: 

  • improving mathematics teaching and in-school support to raise achievement in writing, reading and to extend eLearning
  • increasing the use of student achievement information
  • planning more responsive action for groups of target students
  • increasing staffing and reducing class sizes
  • more targeted use of teacher aides
  • providing additional reading recovery resource. 

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school has effectively accelerated the achievement of some Māori learners identified at risk of poor outcomes. In 2016, the school has increased its focus on addressing the needs of the greater number of Maori students enrolling in the school, with several of these students making accelerated progress.

Leaders and teachers have focused on building stronger relationships with whānau and iwi. Teachers and trustees demonstrate they value te ao Māori and whānau participation in the life of the school. Regular timetabled opportunities enable students to participate in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori to support their language, identity and culture and develop leadership skills.

To further improve outcomes for all Māori students, leaders and trustees should: 

  • set specific annual targets for those who need acceleration
  • closely monitor and more regularly report the progress of these learners
  • identify and promote strategies that are successful in accelerating achievement.

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration? 

Leaders and staff know their students well and have clearly identified those students with additional learning needs. The board provides additional resourcing to target improvement. The school works collaboratively with external agencies to support these learners' success. Participation in the ALiM programme has accelerated the learning of a small group of students in mathematics. The Reading Together programme and recent introduction of electronic tools for sharing learning with parents, has increased whānau and families' involvement in their children's learning.

Trustees and teachers should continue to develop a shared understanding of acceleration and ensure deliberate actions and aligned processes are in place to make this happen, including:

  • setting clear expectations for each group
  • regular monitoring and reporting of progress in relation to expectations
  • deeper analysis of assessment information to better inform planning and teaching
  • ongoing inquiry into effectiveness of strategies on outcomes for learners
  • continuing to strengthen learning partnerships with parents and whānau.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The school has made significant improvements in teaching programmes, leadership and governance practices to promote improved outcomes and opportunities for equity and excellence.

Trustees are improvement focused and involved in training for their roles, obligations and responsibilities. They have established appropriate systems for policy review and effective governance and are well informed by regular reports from the principal. Relationships with the community have been strengthened through consultation and input into strategic plans and priorities.

Students observed by ERO were well supported in their learning through:

  • clear expectations for learning in well-organised classrooms and structured lessons that align well to current teaching programme guidelines and procedures
  • provision of a wide range of learning opportunities across the learning areas
  • differentiated group work and deliberate acts of teaching with access to technology to support learning
  • positive respectful relationships and opportunities for students to work and learn collaboratively.

Recent consultation about the school motto provides a useful basis for reviewing the Urenui School curriculum to ensure it sufficiently and explicitly captures and represents:

  • the local context, and closely aligns to the school vision and values and aspirations for successful learners transitioning through and beyond school
  • Treaty of Waitangi partnerships and defines how all teachers support the language, culture and identity of Māori learners
  • students' ownership and participation in their learning.

Teachers are supported to develop their practice through regular professional discussion, collaborative planning and access to PLD to cater for individual needs and responsibilities. The appraisal process is aligned to school priorities and expectations.

To further enhance opportunities and processes to build teacher capability, leaders should:

  • continue to develop leadership across the school
  • ensure teachers' appraisal goals include more specific links to the acceleration of achievement of target students
  • further promote teaching as inquiry to assist with programme responsiveness and improved evaluation of what works and why.

A leadership focus on extending community relationships through effective communication and involvement has increased parent participation and confidence in the school over the past three years. Positive and supportive community relationships and learning partnerships are being strengthened with parents, whānau and links with Ngāti Mutunga iwi. Community involvement is more visible through increased participation and support for the school initiatives, processes and events.

ERO's evaluation affirms school efforts to further develop self-review and internal evaluation processes. Next steps are to develop a shared understanding of effective internal evaluation to inform ongoing improvement and better gauge the impact of initiatives on improving outcomes for learners.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • need approaches that effectively meet the needs of each child
  • need to ensure the school is well placed to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it.

Leaders and teachers have used a range of effective strategies and tools to support the ongoing improvement in student achievement across the school. Further development of assessment, moderation and internal evaluation processes should strengthen trustees and leaders' planning and resourcing decisions.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should participate in an internal evaluation workshop. They should use this workshop, the Internal Evaluation: Good Practice exemplars and the School Evaluation Indicators to address the findings of this evaluation and develop more targeted planning that includes a significant focus on building teacher capability to accelerate learning and achievement.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s planning and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full review in three years.

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • 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

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014

7 Recommendations

ERO and leaders agree that strengthening appraisal and further developing evaluation knowledge, assessment processes and teacher inquiry should help sustain and improve initiatives to promote equity and excellence for all learners. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

14 February 2017

About the school 


Urenui, North Taranaki

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 27, Female 25

Ethnic composition



Other ethnic groups




Review team on site

December 2016

Date of this report

14 February 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2014

June 2012

April 2009