Waiau School - 31/07/2013

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Waiau is a small, rural school catering for students in Years 1 to 6. The school has a good reporting history with ERO and is strongly focused on improving learning outcomes for students.

The school has been a focal point in the community for over a hundred years. Many aspects of the buildings have maintained their traditional style. Teachers have made considerable effort to present attractive classrooms with displays of students’ work and a good range of resources to support learning.

Students and staff benefit from extensive community involvement including annually raising significant funds to support the school. This funding has provided extra part-time teachers, and a range of good quality resources, including useful information and communication technologies (ICT) equipment.

Since the June 2009 ERO review there have been a number of changes in teaching staff and trustees.

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

The school makes very good use of achievement information to support its students.

Most students are achieving at or above National Standards in writing and mathematics with higher numbers of students achieving highly in reading. Information is well analysed and clearly reported to parents and the board.

This student achievement data is used to set annual targets. It identifies individuals and groups of students who require extra support to make progress towards achieving the National Standards.

The intervention programmes are well designed to meet individual needs for students needing extra support and those requiring extension.

Teachers support students’ understanding of their learning. As a result, students can confidently talk about their learning goals and improved achievement.

Area for review and development

Students’ progress is well monitored and tracked over time. Trustees, school leaders and teachers are aware that Māori students, boys, and students who are coming and going from the school feature in underachievement data.

Teachers have identified, and ERO agrees, that the next step is to look for different ways to further lift the achievement of these students.

3 Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports students’ learning.

A strong feature of the curriculum is the way the school’s values and learning qualities are consistently taught and well understood by students and staff. These guidelines help students to manage their own behaviour and support others. Students know what is expected of them. They are polite and respectful.

The school’s curriculum is comprehensive and provides clear expectations for teachers about how, and what, they will teach. It is well aligned to the New Zealand Curriculum and has a strong focus on ensuring students have many opportunities for learning in literacy and mathematics.

Students are provided with a wide range of interesting learning experiences. This includes regular camps, trips and educational visits. Senior students appreciate the responsibility they are given to fulfil leadership roles in the school.

Teachers regularly consider ways to meet students' learning needs. Students spoke confidently about the approaches teachers use to help them learn. These include:

  • making learning fun through use of ICT, equipment and games
  • breaking down the learning steps, particularly in mathematics, to make learning easier
  • explaining things in different ways to improve understanding
  • encouraging students’ imagination and creativity
  • providing good levels of challenge for individuals.

Teachers encourage students by celebrating their learning through assemblies, displays of work and giving them positive feedback.

Areas for review and development

Professional development has increased teachers’ knowledge and abilities with ICT. Teachers are keen to continue to further their own understanding and students’ effective use of ICT in their learning. ERO agrees this is a useful next step.

Teachers are also aware that students should have more opportunities to take a greater role in monitoring and leading their own learning.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

The board, leaders and teachers are working towards providing a learning environment that promotes educational success for Māori, as Māori. They have used some Ministry of Education resources to build their understanding and knowledge of ways to better support the progress and achievement of Māori learners.

Students shared with ERO how much they enjoy the opportunities teachers have provided for them to learn about the Māori culture through specific topic studies. They also learn some te reo Māori. This is in the early stages of development.

Areas for review and development

Māori students as a group are not achieving at the same levels as their peers in reading, writing and mathematics. High levels of learning support are in place for these students and progress is being made. To further increase the rate of progress the principal and teachers need to continue to:

  • extend the range of approaches they use to consult with Māori whānau
  • further include Māori culture and use of te reo Māori across all learning areas of the curriculum
  • recognise and include Māori culture and language in the everyday life of the school.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The board is committed to ensuring all students have good opportunities to learn and succeed. Trustees know about student achievement and allocate resources to help students make progress. The board recognises the principal’s strong organisational skills. Policies and procedures are regularly reviewed. They provide a useful framework to guide how the school operates.

Trustees, the principal and staff work well together to provide a clear strategic direction for the school.

Trustees, the principal and teachers use effective processes to review the curriculum and other aspects of school operations. Student achievement information is used well in the review of literacy and mathematics. Recommendations from curriculum reviews are actioned and outcomes evaluated.

The principal and teachers are reflective. Teachers consider their teaching practice with care and look for ways to improve their practice. The principal has a good knowledge of the abilities of classroom teachers. She sources many appropriate professional development opportunities for teachers to extend their practices to better support all learners.

Areas for review and development

With recent board changes it is timely for the trustees and principal to:

  • revisit how the community could be further involved in self review and forward planning
  • review how well the actions identified in yearly plans are evaluated to show success.

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 is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

31 July 2013

About the School


Waiau, North Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing Primary (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 31

Boys 30

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā




Review team on site

June 2013

Date of this report

31 July 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2009

March 2006

May 2003