Waikaka School - 08/05/2019

School Context

Waikaka School is a small rural school which provides education for students from Years 1 to 8. There are currently 59 students on the roll, eight of whom identify as Māori and including an increasing number of Filipino students. Students learn in three multi-level classes.

The school’s mission statement is ‘learning for life’. This is supported by a vision for students that is to ‘cultivate a culture that inspires all to achieve beyond what they thought possible’. The purpose, mission and vision are underpinned by the school’s values of: noho tahi (co-operation), mahi ngātahi (collaboration), and tauwhāinga (competition) to be the best that we can be by showing excellence.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • wellbeing for success.

Waikaka School is a member of the Pomahaka Kāhui 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?

The school is working positively towards equitable and excellent outcomes for all students. School information shows that overall most students are achieving at or above the school’s expected curriculum levels in writing, reading and mathematics. All Filipino students are achieving at or above expected levels in all areas.

Over the last three years:

  • there has been a downward trend in the proportions of students achieving at or above expectations in reading, with a disparity in achievement for Pākehā students in 2018

  • although levels of writing achievement have remained stable there is some disparity in achievement for boys

  • achievement in mathematics has been variable, however 2018 information shows a lift in levels of achievement, including for Māori students.

The principal uses school information to identify which students need support and develop interventions to meet their needs. In order to know about the effectiveness of the interventions, learning information needs to be closely scrutinised.

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

The school is working towards accelerating learning for identified students. It has had some success with this.

As a result of a board-funded intervention, a third of identified students made accelerated progress in mathematics and the majority accelerated their progress 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?

Students experience learning in a caring environment and have a strong sense of belonging with their school. They have positive relationships with their teachers, their teachers with each other, and the principal with the board. The board, principal and teachers:

  • know students and their families well
  • have a very clear focus on strengthening learning-centred relationships with the school community
  • value the voice of students, parents and the community and respond accordingly.

Waikaka School has a broad localised curriculum that provides students with many opportunities to learn. Students’ and the community’s voice are effectively gathered and their ideas are well integrated into curriculum developments. Recent developments have meant a more coherent and well-organised coverage for learning areas of the New Zealand Curriculum. The students’ wellbeing for learning is a core focus for the board, principal and teachers. This has been evident for example with the senior students, where their needs have been clearly identified, and opportunities for extension have been put in place to meet them.  

The school’s values are well known and enacted by the students. The recent revision of the vision and values have led to clearer expectations for students. Students have many opportunities to develop and demonstrate these values in and beyond the school.

The principal and teachers are proactive and respond to the learning needs of their students, as shown in their response to the school’s mathematics achievement data. Teachers are working collaboratively through inquiring into aspects of their teaching practice. This collective approach is being strengthened by ongoing, in depth, external professional development. As a result, teachers are provided the opportunity to lead, build their capability, and improve and better support students’ learning.

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

The board, principal and teachers need to:

  • build and deepen their understanding of school data so that information can be transformed into evidence-based effective teaching strategies and practice

  • evaluate those strategies and practices by asking the question, “are we making enough difference?”

The principal and teachers need to:

  • develop a shared understanding of internal evaluation and a systematic process for evaluation

  • engage in regular and consistent evaluation of the effectiveness and quality of programmes and practices to know what is working and what is not.

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 Students Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Waikaka School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

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:

  • the board and principal having a clear focus on continuing to strengthen learning-centred relationships within and beyond the school that benefit students
  • the principal’s and teachers’ collaborative inquiry into aspects of their teaching practice
  • the prioritisation of student wellbeing for learning.

Next steps

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

  • building and strengthening the understanding and scrutiny of school data by the board, principal and teachers
  • systematic evaluation of all aspects of the school to ensure the quality and effectiveness of programmes and practices are making a positive difference to student outcomes.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

8 May 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full primary school, Years 1 to 8

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 34, Girls 23

Ethnic composition

Māori 8
Pākehā 41
Filipino 8

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

March 2019

Date of this report

8 May 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review December 2015

Education Review July 2012

Education Review October 2008