Waiau Area School - 25/07/2019


The May 2016 ERO external evaluation of Waiau Area School identified a number of significant concerns regarding the educational outcomes and opportunities for students. The following key priorities for improvement were identified. These included:

  • the use of reliable achievement information to raise student achievement

  • building effective teaching practice and wider opportunities for student learning

  • meeting the specific needs of learners requiring extra support

  • effective school governance and leadership.

In Years 9 to 13, an improved curriculum design and provision was also required to better support learners, so that they experienced greater educational success and a broader curriculum.

Over the past 18 months, the school has been involved in a longitudinal evaluation process with ERO to support school improvement. ERO’s termly evaluations of school progress have involved the senior leadership team, teachers and students, board of trustees, the Ministry of Education (Ministry), the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA), professional development providers, whānau, and community representatives.

This report is intended to inform the board of trustees and school community of the positive progress made to date. It summarises ERO’s mid-point evaluation of the school’s progress and development, and the areas of focus in the longitudinal evaluation process.

ERO Judgement

The school has made good progress in developing its organisational capability and operational capacity. Students are benefiting from a school leadership team that is student focused. The board has remained relatively unchanged, and this continuity has been helpful to promote improvement.

To begin to address the findings of the 2017 ERO evaluation, the most significant areas of progress and development so far include:

  • a positive school climate and a better environment for learning

  • significant roll growth as a sign of increased community confidence

  • an increasingly broad curriculum for senior students, including increased specialist subject teaching of English, science, music, art, health and physical education, including improved access to accounting and te reo Māori

  • development of best practice teaching and learning in mathematics

  • improved monitoring and reporting of data to support student learning

  • a defined system of support for students with additional learning needs

  • increased focus on promoting and supporting student wellbeing

  • a targeted focus on raising achievement by school trustees and leaders.

To build on the positive improvements, and fully address the areas for development, further significant improvements are required. These include:

  • implementing a strategy with close monitoring and whānau involvement to continue to increase attendance

  • the use of data to inform targeted teaching that results in accelerated student learning

  • leadership of, and support for, effective teaching and learning in reading and writing

  • sustaining the good progress in mathematics teaching

  • ongoing development of the senior school curriculum to promote equitable and excellent student outcomes

  • further targeted in-class learning opportunities for students with additional learning needs.

Key areas of progress and development

Teaching and learning including curriculum and assessment

To improve the curriculum, the school has:

  • targeted professional development for the effective delivery of the curriculum, and implemented a planned approach to ongoing curriculum review

  • increased curriculum choices for students, particularly for senior students

  • expanded education outside the classroom (EOTC) opportunities

  • strengthened teaching and learning of mathematics across the school

  • increased opportunities for students to manage their learning

  • improved the reliability of assessment information in writing and mathematics

  • a comprehensive appraisal framework to improve teacher practice.


To promote more effective leadership, the school has:

  • reviewed the school vision and values to underpin the school’s direction

  • created a collaborative, improvement-focused culture for staff and students

  • established systems and processes to support effective school operations

  • increased trustees’ knowledge of effective governance

  • made improvements to the learning environments and property

  • improved monitoring and reporting of progress and achievement for students in Years 1 to 10 in reading, writing and mathematics and for students in Years 11 to 13 in National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA)

  • engaged positively with the Ministry and other providers to build leadership and teaching professional capability for leaders and teachers.

School culture and student wellbeing

To promote student engagement and wellbeing, the school has:

  • developed a positive and supportive school culture

  • established positive engagement with parents, whānau and the wider school community

  • increased opportunities for student involvement in learning

  • strengthened support for students with high needs.

Key next steps

To support ongoing school improvement, ERO‘s evaluation in Term 3, 2019 will focus on:

  • student attendance and engagement

  • the ongoing development of a local school curriculum to meet the interests, strengths and needs of all students

  • school leadership of effective classroom teaching and learning

  • teachers’ use of assessment information to inform more targeted approaches to classroom teaching and learning

  • school leaders’ use of regular internal evaluation processes to decide on the key actions and determine the impact on equitable outcomes for students.

ERO will conduct an evaluation in Term 4, 2019 to review and report to the community the overall school progress in relation to the May 2016 ERO evaluation.

This will include the Board’s completion of the Board Assurance Statement, with the required evidence, to support the Board’s attestation. At this time, ERO will evaluate the extent of school progress and how well placed the school is to sustain and improve its performance.

Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)

Southern Region

25 July 2019

About the school


Tuatapere, Southland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Composite (Years 1 to 15)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 55% Boys 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori 25%
NZ European/Pākehā 73%
other ethnic groups 2%

Review team on site

June 2019

Date of this report

25 July 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2016
Education Review February 2014
Education Review January 2012